“Doctor I’ve Been Impaled”: Obesity & the Medical Establishment’s Fat Frenzy

Black field, with a red X. White text: Are you among the people who, under late stage capitalism & neocolonialism are just supposed to die? -Emmanations

Fascist Health Care: We only operate on people
who don’t need operations?

A new policy in England, an NHS ban on surgery for people who are obese.

And while it isn’t an official policy in the rest of the world, there is a growing movement among doctors to refuse services to fat patients. The refusal to treat people who are overweight is a serious problem even when it isn’t overt public policy.
I’m Fat. I’ve been chunky all my life, and between diabetes and fibromyalgia (which makes exercise very difficult and dangerous), I’ve recently crossed that threshold where doctors don’t just suggest I lose weight, but actively refuse to treat any aspect of my health care needs and make outlandish, dangerous and uninformed suggestions, often starting with the sentence “I’m not a nutritionist, but…” (But then STHU!) If you’re not a nutritionist, giving nutritional advice is very dangerous. If you’re not even going to ask me what I eat, telling me what I should eat is very dangerous.
It’s a safe bet that anyone who is my age (58) has tried every diet, diet pill and diet strategy to the point of self harm. I’ve found a regimen that works for me, that balances my limited strength, finances and dietary needs. Very few people eat a diet as healthy as mine. My partner, Andy lost 80 pounds and has kept it off for over a year, eating almost as healthy as I do. I haven’t lost a pound. I struggle with diabetes and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia makes exercise difficult because it makes me more incapacitated. There is nothing I can do about my weight EXCEPT try a series of extreme and unhealthy practices to attempt to conform to a societal standard that I just can’t achieve.
While I am no longer a smoker, my first cigarettes were given to me as samples, promotions by the tobacco industry, handed out on the streets of Philadelphia. I was 13. I don’t know if people should be held responsible for the consequences of addictions they were introduced to by the corporations who manufacture that poison, or how much control people have over addictions.
This is an ableist death sentence.

To quote Lavar Burton “But you don’t have to take my word for it”, here are medical sources, patient anecdotals and activist sources on the issue. This list is updated as more information becomes available to me. Newest additions to this list of resources are at the top of the list.

  • https://twitter.com/upupdowndown/status/1192441005917790209 
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10217812382716205&set=a.3880107516105&type=3&theater
    “A coworker just passed away. She was a Black woman in her early 30s. She went to her doctor last Wednesday about shortness of breath and chest pain. He just told her to lose weight. Well, she had clots in her lungs and had a massive heart attack Friday.

  • Impact of weight bias and stigma on quality of care and outcomes for patients with obesity
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/obr.12266

  • Weighing the care: physicians’ reactions to the size of a patient.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11477511
  • “In the latter half of the 20th century, the medical industrial complex (MIC) and the health industry worked in conjunction with the governments of the west and our media to express deep worry for the state of fat people in the western world. They referred to it as the “obesity epidemic.” From that moment forward, the public’s perception of fat people was warped—and, in many ways, justified and affirmed—by fear mongering headlines, medical and pharmaceutical officials who antagonized their fat patients, a billion dollar diet industry built off of the fear of fatness, and a government that pushed a wide-range of “health initiatives” in schools across America…
    …Generally, there is no in-depth analysis in these left spaces around fatness and health. However, through work written by J. Eric Oliver, Roxane Gay, Sabrina Strings and others, we learn that our obsession with “obesity” and being “overweight” is less about health—as there is little to no science that shows ‘obesity’ is an actual killer disease—and is more about cultural and systemic anti-fatness which the diet and medical industrial complexes and media industries profit off of. Just like with the “war on drugs” and the “crack epidemic,” which many of the organizers in these spaces know about and understand, major institutions (including our government) made up or falsified evidence about the effects of fatness/’obesity’ as a way to criminalize, dehumanize, and profit off of fat people.  (J. Eric Oliver, “Fat Politics: The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic”, 2005); especially and particularly fat Black folks. If you can understand just how harmful science has been for other marginalized groups, and how much the government has lied to propagandize the public, you can understand exactly how much the “obesity epidemic” is not real.””

    FAT PEOPLE MUST BECOME A PRIORITY TO THE LEFT
    https://wearyourvoicemag.com/news-politics/to-the-left/fatphobia-leftist-organizing

  • “Race was integral to the issue. At the onset of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, skin color was often used to determine racial belonging. But by the 18th century, skin color (after years of interracial sex in the colonies) proved a poor sorting mechanism.What we had by the 19th century was a new racial discourse that suggested black people were also inherently voracious. Combine this with the displacement of poor Europeans in the 19th century (i.e., Irish, Southern Italians, and Russian Jews), and white Americans were being advised to fear black people, as well as these “degraded” or supposedly “part-black” Europeans, who were also purportedly identifiable by their weight and skin color.”
    https://www.futurity.org/fat-phobia-book-sabrina-strings-2130182-2/
    BOOK: FAT PHOBIA AROSE FROM RACISM AND RELIGION
    A new book explores the religious and racial origins of society’s obsession with ConfirmDelete Julia Agron Owen R. Broadhurst is a mutual friend. ConfirmDelete Suggested Pages See All Funky & Darn near new Richard likes this. Like English (US) · Español · Português (Brasil) · Français (France) · Deutsch Privacy · Terms · Advertising · Ad Choices · Cookies · More Facebook © 2019 Emma Rosenthal 5 hrs · Image of a tweet Description: Conversation RedBull in a china shop @upupdowndown A coworker just passed away. She was a Black woman in her early 30s. She went to her doctor last Wednesday about shortness of breath and chest pain. He just told her to lose weight. Well, she had clots in her lungs and had a massive heart attack Friday.thinness.
  • “The issues facing obese people follow them through the medical system, starting with the physical exam.

    Research has shown that doctors may spend less time with obese patients and fail to refer them for diagnostic tests. One study asked 122 primary care doctors affiliated with one of three hospitals within the Texas Medical Center in Houston about their attitudes toward obese patients. The doctors “reported that seeing patients was a greater waste of their time the heavier that they were, that physicians would like their jobs less as their patients increased in size, that heavier patients were viewed to be more annoying, and that physicians felt less patience the heavier the patient was,” the researchers wrote.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/health/obese-patients-health-care.html
    Why Do Obese Patients Get Worse Care? Many Doctors Don’t See Past the Fat

  • “”One of the most popular explanations is that fat people get more aggressive treatment than thin people, because their weight raises red flags at the doctor’s office. This seems questionable: studies show that overweight and obese people tend to avoid doctors, get fewer preventive screenings, and receive worse treatment because they’re often misdiagnosed as “fat” rather than with a specific medical condition.””
    https://qz.com/550527/obesity-paradox-scientists-now-think-that-being-overweight-is-sometimes-good-for-your-health/
    Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health

  • “Dieting does not meet the criteria for ethical, evidence-based medicine. But as studies like Matheson et. al, Wei et. al., and the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Studies show us, focusing on our actual health, and allowing our bodies to settle at whatever weight they settle, is a far more evidence-based health practice than trying to feed our bodies less food than they need in the hopes that they’ll eat themselves and become smaller, and that somehow the result will be improved health.”https://danceswithfat.org/2019/09/18/an-open-letter-to-james-corden-from-a-fellow-fat-person/

    An Open Letter To James Corden From A Fellow Fat Person

  • https://mashable.com/video/james-corden-on-bill-maher-fat-shaming/?fbclid=IwAR1y9y88hDPf49EAh4hTQZJDJnDiEQGAoKRGBz-3zsHo9bdqkOhZOQGs4lE

    Watch James Corden’s beautifully honest response to Bill Maher’s pro-fat shaming take

  • “When the culture and the medical world are constantly pushing the idea that “obesity” needs to be eliminated, it’s not the fat cells that are feeling that stigma—it’s the fat people. This hierarchy of bodies is nothing new, with roots in racism, slavery and every other attempt to rank bodies. We can no longer pretend that being less likely to be hired or get promotions, being paid less, receiving biased medical treatment, being socially excluded and bullied are attempts to help people “be healthier.” These are the direct consequences of living in a culture that vilifies and fears fat bodies and that treats the people living in them as morally lesser beings.”

    “Negative words—“noncompliant,” “overindulgent,” “weak willed”—pop up in their medical histories with higher frequency. In one study, researchers presented doctors with case histories of patients suffering from migraines. With everything else being equal, the doctors reported that the patients who were also classified as fat had a worse attitude and were less likely to follow their advice. And that’s when they see fat patients at all: In 2011, the Sun-Sentinel polled OB-GYNs in South Florida and discovered that 14 percent had barred all new patients weighing more than 200 pounds.”
    https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/everything-you-know-about-obesity-is-wrong/
    Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong

  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/17/nhs-provokes-fury-indefinite-surgery-ban-smokers-obese/
    NHS provokes fury with indefinite surgery ban for smokers and obese
  • https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/05/gtfo-with-obesity-epidemic/
    5 Reasons Why Everything You Think You Know About Obesity Is Wrong (Or At Least Really Shady)
  • https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/03/weight-obese-doctors-patients/
    In treating obese patients, too often doctors can’t see past weight
  • https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/horrible-new-medical-guidelines-for-fat-patients/

    Horrible New Medical Guidelines for Fat Patients

     

  • Low and behold, a higher BMI may even mean that we’re healthier than if we were thinner, as long as health conditions related to weight ARE addressed!
    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/10/477376914/does-putting-on-a-few-pounds-help-you-cheat-death
    Does Putting On A Few Pounds Help You Cheat Death?
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html

    How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
    Image of 2 people, a large heavy set, female presenting person, impaled by a large beam, and a thin male presenting person, writing notes. Both people are white presenting. Patient says "Doctor! I've been impaled!!!!". Doctor replies, "Well maybe you'll feel better if you lose some weight."

  • For years doctors have and continue to promote a diet regimen unsupported by evidence or research. They told us to eat this way!

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