Imagine being turned away from a doctor because you are overweight? Crazy, you might think. After all doesn’t a doctor take the Hippocratic oath to help people? Aren’t doctors the ones you turn to when you are sick, in poor health, and need medical care?
In South Florida, it seems that a few doctors have forgotten what they got into medicine for. When polled, some OB/GYNS said they set weight limits on otherwise healthy women and will not treat any pregnant woman if they exceed the weight standards they personally set.
According to the Los Angeles Times, fifteen OB/GYN practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight cut-offs for new patients starting at 200 pounds or based on measures of obesity — and turn down women who are heavier.
While a few of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can’t accommodate people over a certain weight (which is doubtful at best), at least six said they were trying to avoid obese patients because they have a higher risk of complications.
The paper reports one doctor commented on the real reason why he does not believe in treating overweight pregnant women:
“People don’t realize the risk we’re taking by taking care of these patients,” said Dr. Albert Triana, whose two-physician practice in South Miami declines patients classified as obese. “There’s more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued.
OB/GYN partners Jeffrey Solomon and Isabel Otero-Echandi regularly turns away any woman weighing more than 250 pounds.
When the paper spoke with the office manager who asked not to be named, she said that Solomon and Otero don’t want to start seeing heavy women and then have to send them to specialists if they later develop problems. The two doctors declined to comment themselves as did many of the other physicians with weight cutoffs.
Ironically, my midwife practice does not turn away overweight women that are otherwise healthy. They have seen countless overweight women through their pregnancies which resulted in normal, uneventful deliveries and a bunch of healthy babies. It’s ridiculous that doctors would turn away these women. This news only confirms my decision to choose a midwife instead of a doctor even more. Plus, I adore my midwife and could have not had better childbirth experiences than I had with her.
Do you agree with doctors who turn away overweight women out of fear of being sued? Does your doctor have weight limits?