What I remember most about that night was the patient’s sister begging me, “Please don’t let him die just because he is fat. He’s a good man.”
At the time I could hear her anguish, but I didn’t fully grasp all that her words were truly saying. Maybe I was naïve, but, before that fateful night, it had never occurred to me that a man wouldn’t receive appropriate medical care just because of his size. That’s what doctors do, take care of sick people, regardless—right?
Nor could I understand why she felt she needed to tell me he was a good man despite his weight. What did his size have to do with him being good or bad or with his inherent worth as a human being?
This is called weight stigma.
Then I thought back to my earlier conversation with the ER doctor from the other hospital and realized that was exactly what had just happened. None of the surgeons in that small town hospital would touch him because of his size"
- Suzanne Dooley-Hash, MD