The blogosphere responds to Dr. Bennett calling a patient fat

Peevish . . . I’m Just Saying:
“Doctors tell you what you need to hear, whether you want to hear it or not and this woman’s in some serious denial if she thinks filing a complaint is going to change her health risks.

It’s about as smart as me filing a complaint about my doctor telling me to quit smoking, wouldn’t you say? Quitting smoking or not quitting smoking is my personal choice, but it’s my doctor’s duty to point out the health risks to me.”

The CultureGhost:
“He suggested in a professional manner it would be in her best interest to lose some weight. And her feelings got hurt. WTF? This guy does not sound like some malicious surreal Monty Python physician who spends his mornings plotting ways to verbally abuse his patients. And her feelings got hurt. WTF? She files a complaint because a doctor, a man with a medical degree and years of experience, states she might have a health problem. What next, pray tell . . .

. . . Not only have we become a nation of gluttons (recent report estimates 49% of the nation may be overweight), but we’re getting dumber by the hour. Perhaps the most galling aspect is how this represents our inability to face the truth. We want to be lied to…often.”

The Fifty Minute Hour:
“Ultimately, I don’t think this doctor committed an ethics breach in need of remedy by the medical board. But I find it a little disturbing that he is unwilling to admit he made a mistake. Even if he believes that the medical evidence supports a conclusion that obesity is dangerous ceteris paribus, he offered his patient no actual medical assistance in reducing that danger. Instead, he made her angry and upset, and therefore (the anecdote from his other patient notwithstanding) less likely to follow any other important advice he needs to give her. The doctor’s actions weren’t unethical, they were just unhelpful. It would be great if other doctors could learn from this story what their patient’s reactions to statements like these are likely to be so that they can phrase their advice in ways that are more likely to succeed in getting patients to take better care of themselves. Because no matter what the reason might be, ‘you’re fat, go on a diet,’ is not likely to help matters.”

Sugar Shock! Blog:
“What’s the matter with this kind of honesty? Every single bit of it is absolutely true! In fact, if anything, Dr. Bennett wasn’t painting a scary enough portrait of what could ensue as a result of being obese! Being obese could lead to so many kinds of health complications and even an early death.

Well, apparently this particular fat lady — who saw the doctor five or six times — just couldn’t handle her doctor’s honest approach. It seems that she’d rather get her physician in trouble than take responsibility for her own actions and join a support group or quit quickie carbs, etc.”

Far Right Wing:
“When a fat woman can endanger a doctor’s license for doing his JOB by telling her his best advice on her health, that’s when we as a society has lost it. The liberal people who want to put everyone in some kind of sensitivity training like this fat woman in New Hampshire is what is wrong with America. They are filing compliant against a professional for his professional opinion because the professional’s advice isn’t sensitive. People don’t go to a mechanic, a stockbroker or a doctor for their emotionally sensitive advice.”

“When did rudeness become a matter for attorneys general? And judging from this version of events, he is routinely rude to obese women. His goal, no doubt, is to get their attention, but it’s probably better to confine comments to medical risks and not to venture into romantic risks. Still not a matter worthy of an attorney general, though, or of a medical board for that matter.”

Captain’s Quarters:
“Bennett did apologize to the patient in writing for offending her, but he points out that mild, politically-correct language offers too many excuses for people to disregard the medical advice. His bedside manner may be a bit too blunt for some patients, but that gets addressed by the market and shouldn’t cause the medical board to reprimand him for his honesty. Getting the New Hampshire Attorney General involved is far more ominous, and far more ridiculous.”

DB’s Medical Rants:
“Saw the physicians (sic) interviewed on TV today. He is obviously intelligent and well spoken. He described his 1 year of fighting this battle as a Big Brother scenario, and then as Kafkaesque.

I like the Kafka concept. He was “reported” for telling a patient the truth. If we cannot tell patients that they are obese – and that they should do something about it – then can we tell patients to stop smoking, or stop drinking – or what about crack cocaine?

This story continues to confuse me. I really cannot believe that it is a story. What is the board of medicine thinking? Who called the attorney general – and why did he not just laugh it off?”