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Is your weight the reason your doctor won’t diagnose you?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Doctors should be neutral professionals who offer the same level of care and service to everyone. However, doctors are only human, and they will often let their personal biases affect the care that they provide to their patients.

People from certain groups may have a harder time getting an accurate diagnosis or sufficient pain management care due to the internal biases that affect a physician’s practice of medicine. Race and sex can absolutely impact how a doctor treats a patient. As it turns out, someone’s weight could also play a big role in what kind of medical care they receive.

Anti-fat bias, which some people call fatphobia, is a well-known issue in the modern medical world. Unfortunately, some doctors will let their personal feelings about someone’s weight affect the standard of care that they provide.

Doctors may blame someone’s weight for all of their symptoms

While having a high percentage of body fat does have some negative medical correlations, there is no absolute connection between weight and health. Many issues that affect Americans that doctors would classify as overweight or obese could just as easily affect someone at a lower weight.

The sad truth is that doctors are more likely to take symptoms seriously and spend more time on diagnostic procedures with a patient falls inside their expectations of a healthy weight. Patients who weigh more than a doctor thinks they should might not receive the same consideration and trust as thinner patients.

Doctors may ascribe everything from back pain and issues with sleep to depression as having a root cause in someone’s weight. All too often, people with serious medical conditions don’t get the testing they need for a diagnosis. Instead, their doctor sends them home with instructions to lose weight. This approach to medicine means that have your set Americans are at a diagnostic disadvantage and may not get care for conditions in a timely manner.

Doctors shouldn’t ever assume the cause of someone’s symptoms

Proper diagnosis requires be careful elimination of potential causes or testing for an affirmative diagnosis, such as the presence of a specific strain of bacteria or a virus. Doctors should rule out potential causes before reaching a conclusion about the source of someone’s symptoms.

When doctors take shortcuts in the diagnostic process, they may provide their patients with inadequate care. Recognizing anti-fat medical bias as a source of diagnostic errors and a form of medical malpractice can help you hold your doctor accountable for the inadequate care they provided to you.