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Fat-shaming can lead to worsened health outcomes

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2017 | Medical Malpractice |

Fat-shaming, or the disrespect of people due to their weight, by physicians may lead to worse outcomes for New York patients. Health researchers have published a review of studies that indicates that patients’ mental and physical health can suffer when they are subject to shame or disparagement due to their weight at the doctor’s office.

In some cases, frequent exposure to thiscan cause patients to avoid seeking medical care or delay treatment, a situation that can cause greater risks. In other cases, patients may not be diagnosed correctly because of health care providers’ focus on their weight rather than potential other causes for their symptoms.

The researchers looked at 46 studies to compare patient reports of medical fat shaming with developments in their health. They found that this can lead to significant distrust by patients in their doctors, especially if their reports of ill health are dismissed or minimized. In the most severe cases, however, doctors may recommend weight loss for heavier patients while recommending blood tests, CT scans or physical therapy for other patients.

This can mean that overweight people with serious diseases could have their diagnosis significantly delayed, leading to worsened health outcomes. The researchers urged awareness and education for health care providers in order to ensure a higher standard of care for patients of all sizes.

Patients who have suffered worsened medical conditions as a result of a physician’s failure to make a proper diagnosis may want to discuss their situation with a medical malpractice attorney. It will need to be demonstrated that such an error constituted a failure by the practitioner to exhibit the requisite standard of care.


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