The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel polled 105 OB/GYN practices, and found that 15 of them either set weight limits — starting at 200 pounds — or use other obesity tests to filter out would-be patients. Their reasons? They say exam tables can’t handle heavy women and point out that obese patients run a higher risk of complications — raising the threat of malpractice lawsuits.
oh my fucking GOD. are you KIDDING.
Fear of fat vulvas.
Really tho, I would snap the fuck out.
As if fat people don’t ALREADY get a poor enough quality of healthcare in this country, if they can even go to a doctor, if they are even WILLING to go to a doctor if they CAN, after years of abusive bullshit concern trolling from medical professionals.
When I got switched onto Lovenox injections from the oral anticoagulant warfarin back in February, they weighed me (Lovenox is dosed by weight) and checked my INR, a measure of how quickly your blood clots on warfarin. On warfarin, it should be between 2-3 and I was actually expecting it to be too high because I hadn’t really been getting enough green veggies. Instead, it was low—not in the therapeutic range at all.
I was concerned about it, and mentioned it to my hematologist even though I basically think of him as a frequently malfunctioning lab terminal that must be coddled into moving processes in the directions I want them to go. He did not disappoint.
“Well,” he said, “You HAVE put on weight.”
He was referring to a total of about ten pounds gained in the ~14 months that had passed between weigh-ins on my chart. Of course, my INR had been TOTALLY NORMAL for the past several months, so apparently he believed that I had gained all that weight in the two weeks since my last lab draw?
And I am “normal weight,” which is to say that my BMI, a meaningless number, is within an arbitrary limit deemed acceptable. My hematologist is more clueless than average—but he is also the senior doctor in charge of the clinic, and as far as I know from my experiences there, none of the others are any better. And his first diagnosis, for a test result that really should not be blown off (although admittedly in this case they were changing drugs anyway, but the MAJORITY of warfarin users admitted to ERs are found not to have a therapeutic INR, so it is a PROBLEM), was that it was probably just from “getting fat.” Which not only is not conclusive, it didn’t even make any fucking sense! It took a sociologist friend to figure out, a couple of days later, that it was probably from dehydration.
When doctors buy into the common conception of fatness, they use it as a diagnostic bludgeon—every problem will be addressed if you get get less fat! This is, unfortunately, pretty much in line with the completely unrealistic picture of various kinds of risk that I have found doctors often draw, either because they don’t know any better or quite possibly because they’re trying to bully patients into meek submission, but none of those other issues get the broad cultural reinforcement that fear and hatred of fat does.
I had to interview three obstetricians before I found one who agreed that, once I managed to get pregnant, they would not attempt to force me into an induced labor; the first two used all kinds of inflated, outright false risk claims to try to pressure me into taking their word for it. I cannot even fucking imagine what it would be like to have to navigate the huge web of healthcare providers that I require while also fighting pernicious fear and hatred of fat at every turn.