Waqas Khan is a Bigot Who Should Never Practice Medicine Again

Bad DoctorOn the blog KevinMD, (self-described as “Social Media’s Leading Physician Voice”) a video was posted [every trigger warning that you could possibly imagine, I definitely don’t recommend watching it] under the title “This is the video that will make you feel sorry for doctors treating obesity.” (Update:  The blog has been removed from KevinMD – way to go everyone, thanks for your activism!)

It’s a slickly produced video by Waqas Khan (who I don’t even want to acknowledge is a physician because it’s just too horrifying), the premise of which is that fat people are all stupid walking stereotypes, and that everyone should feel sorry for doctors because they are expected to treat fat people like human beings.

I mean, who do these fatties think they are, expecting healthcare practitioners to provide evidence-based (god, even compassionate?) care rather than just making assumptions about us, diagnosing us as fat, and prescribing weight loss (using “interventions” that have not only been shown to be almost completely ineffective long-term, but to actually have the opposite of the intended effect most of the time.) Poor doctors, oh the humanity!

Or, in Waqas’ case, the complete lack thereof. (Activism options are listed at the end of this blog post.)

The videos are created by Waqas’ company called “Healthcare Not Fair” (I guess “Doctor Bigot Films” was already taken.)  He claims the piece is satire. So we can add “satire” to “compassion,” “basic human respect,” and “evidence-based medicine” on the list of things that Waqas Khan does not understand. What this video actually shows is what happens when a bigot abuses a position of authority and trust to wallow in, and perpetuate, his bigotry.

Make no mistake though, his behavior is a direct and serious threat to the health of fat people. Waqas is trying to spread a message of weight bigotry, body shame, and self-loathing. If he succeeds, many fat people (and those who feel fat) will believe that our bodies are not worthy of good care and that we are not worthy of being treated with respect by healthcare practitioners, or anyone else which will make it nearly impossible to make decisions in our best interest.

Many of us will see doctors like Waqas who ignore our actual complaints, trust their bigotry and stereotypes over what we tell them, and miss actual health problems because they are so busy trying to manipulate our body size.  Some of us will see doctors who refuse to give us routine care until we meet some ratio of weight and height.

Others will be so scared that our doctor will be a bigot like Waqas that we’ll avoid seeking care, causing us to miss out on preventative care, early diagnosis, and to have worse outcomes than those who can go to the doctor without being terrified that the doctor might create and promote videos making fun of patients like them. This is a real public health threat. If we’re going to wage war against someone in the name of public health, let’s wage war against bigots, and bullies, and people like Waqas Khan.

By the way, this video (called “Miss Fatty”) isn’t the only one, this is a series that includes “Ms. Stupid Taxpayer,” and “Ms. Have it All” among others. Nobody, of any size, should be subjected to a physician like this.

The video contains a “watch at your own risk” warning at the beginning that says “Just like cancer, there’s no cure for getting offended.” His trivialization of cancer to defend his bigotry aside, I beg to differ. I think the cure for getting offended is taking action. Here are some actions that you can take: (Regardless of whether you engage in activism or not, let me just remind you that this guy is the problem, not you. This is severely fucked up, you are fine.)

Activism Opportunities:

Leave a comment on KevinMD.com  and e-mail him at contact@kevinmd.com asking him if “Social Media’s Leading Physician Voice”  really wants to be a voice for bigotry, and suggesting that he take the video down.   DONE!  Thanks to our activism, KevinMD.com has removed the video! There’s still work to be done:

E-mail Waqa’s company (by the way, his next project is a “memoir” film called ““Superdoc: Healthcare’s Own Superhero”” about himself) and let him know what you think of him healthcarenotfair@gmail.com

He works with Healthtap so you can e-mail them and let them know how you feel about their choice of physician partners.

If you wanted to file a complaint with the California Medical Board online (perhaps for unprofessional conduct?) Waqas Ahmad Khan’s License Number is 108929

Leave comments on his social media:

Twitter @driamsorry1 https://twitter.com/driamsorry1

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/healthcarenotfair

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Published in: on July 24, 2015 at 10:51 am  Comments (30)  

30 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Actually…these ridiculous videos are a public service, just not in the way he intends. By overtly advertising his bigotry, he saves me and others the risk of unknowingly putting our health in his hands.

    Hippocratic Oath not withstanding, it’s a hell of a thing for a physician to pretty much state that he/she wants to treat only patients who look a certain way and share the same nutty political views, etc. Also, he doesn’t seem to think very highly of “uppity” women in general.

    Great work as always!

    Jen

    • Yeah, I love the bit where he derrided the “miracle pill” as not having scientific studies behind it, but then suggested dieting instead *rolls eyes*. On the bright side almost all of the comments were calling him out!

  2. Good News! The video has been taken down and replaced with some fluff about “discussion” and how patients’ voices came through loud and clear.

  3. Hmm, what do you know…when I went to click on the video, there’s a message saying it’s been taken down. Here’s a quote from the post mentioning it’s been taken down – Despite that, the execution of the video (and my decision to post it) was ill-conceived and served to drive patients and doctors further apart, which contradicts my editorial mission.

    I’m not going to give Waqas Khan any further clicks or traffic on his site. He sounds like an absolute ass, and my time is too precious for that rot. Thank you, Ragen, for the activism suggestions. It looks like some steps worked.

  4. Whatever happened to, “First, do no harm?”

    • It wasn’t profitable enough…

      • Touché!

      • LOL. Ain’t it the truth? A few days ago, The Fat Chick Sings had an article about a weight loss clinic that’s now holding conferences for doctors teaching them how to exploit the ACA’s anti-obesity initiative to get themselves and the clinic more federal money by funneling as many of their patients as possible through its program. And this is the point you shake your head and remember that something can simultaneously be legal and unethical as hell.

    • It’s too hard to “do no harm” when you also want to be a bigot. Looks like he chose bigotry instead.

  5. The video had been removed but that doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Can anyone find it? Mirror perhaps?

    • If you google Waqas Khan, you can access his website and find the video.

  6. /sarcasm alert/

    Gee, shaming patient’s into obtaining better health.
    Yeah, that’ll work.
    Always has before.

    Anyone notice the binge eating ad right smack in the middle of the explanation regarding the removal of the video? It asks, “What is binge eating disorder and how can you help adult patients manage it?” Well, one way is to stop the shaming of patients. Gee docs, did it ever occur to you that your attitude actually harms the patients?

    Okay, let’s cut to the chase here. It’s all about money, right? There’s no genuine interest in treating obese patients. So, docs, how about I give you my money and you can just leave me alone. Simply tell me how much cash you want so as to stop victimizing me. That’s all I ask.

    Clearly, I’m better off without your services.

  7. Seems like there’s some real sexism going on too, considering all the video titles are “Miss” or “Ms.” something.

    • I had the same reaction initially. Fortunately (or unfortunately since I had to go to Khan’s website to discover this), there are other videos that have titles such as Mr. Smoker or Mr. Something Else, so he’s spreading the hate and shaming all around.

    • And it’s Miss Fatty, vs Ms. [other video] — because fat ladies can’t possibly be married.

      (Granted, I have not gone to his site to see his whole catalog of titles, because I am currently out of brain bleach.)

  8. I find it fascinating that people can post hateful, shameful videos and diatribes, and call them “satire” as if that makes it okay. I’m all for freedom of speech and know I don’t have to read or view things I find offensive, but putting such pieces out there just perpetuates hatred. As an employed professional, if I put up a piece mocking, criticizing, or shaming my clients on a public platform, I would be fired on the spot.

  9. there was a physician in my hometown that I meet when he walked in looked at my profession and gave me a 5 minute hate tirade based on that (the appointment went downhill from there.) Did the same to our minister and apparently many others. When EVERYONE started requesting appointments with his partner they made them and substituted Dr Hater when you got there. So many people left the practice they went out of business.

    • Wow, that is some shady business practice (and medical!) right there.

      Why would you hate on a minister???

  10. Like lusciouswords, I don’t want to give the guy traffic, but let me see if I have this straight: Dr. Waqas is offended that fat people he tells to lose weight *attempt to comply,* but in their attempts use oil from all the wrong snakes. So he makes a “satirical” video that’s actually more like a thinly-veiled accusation building up to an all-too-familiar punchline: “If you haven’t stopped being fat, it’s because you’re JUST NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH!”

    I heard that one already, doc. It was a dinosaur in Aristotle’s days.

  11. This blog is an exceptionally good example of the terrible bigotry of one doctor, which is also true of most doctors.They may not express their bigotry against fat people as openly, but it is there.Very heavy persons cannot find seating they can fit in and get out of easily in almost every doctors office where I live, and I am sure it is true elsewhere. This embarases these patients and discourages them from
    taking care of their health.
    Supposedly statistics seem to show that the more obese a person is the shorter their life expectancy. However the statistics do not and cannot measure and take into account the bigotry and maltreatment
    that most patients receive in treatment. The more obese a person is,
    the worse the treatment.
    When have you seen a really fat doctor? I wouldn’t be surprised if medical schools actively select only svelt thin candidates,male or female, who look like they just came out of Hollywood.
    The real question is how do we fight back against this kigotry?
    Kewac01

    • “cannot measure and take into account the bigotry and maltreatment that most patients receive in treatment. The more obese a person is, the worse the treatment.”

      Not to mention that many fat people won’t even go to the doctor because of the way they are treated when they are there, like Ragen said. How many people have undiagnosed health issues going UNTREATED because of the mistreatment these patients have experienced from doctors and other “health care professionals” (I use the term “professional” very loosely here) in the past – and now they don’t even go to the doctor to get check out. How many people go in anyway, taking the abuse, to GET TREATMENT for a health issue only to have the doctor ignore the actual health issue and instead insist that it’s “because fat” “lose weight” and again there health problem goes diagnosed. And untreated health issues will definitely shorten a lot of people’s lives.

      • I’ve developed a horrendous allergy to perfume in the last 5 yrs, and I break out in hives wherever the perfume is applied. So far I have been relying on Benadryl, Zincofax, and Vic’s VapoRub. They seem to have lost their effectiveness this last time around. I wonder if I need an epipen. Would I be allowed to have one? I believe I’d get the “weight loss will cure that right up” lecture.

      • And if we as fat people don’t go to the doctor for treatment because we don’t want to deal with being stigmatized and shamed for our weight, then our weight gets blamed as the cause of death rather than the fact that we were being stigmatized or shamed. Or if we do brave the stigma and shaming we know is likely to happen, our weight is blamed if we die instead of the lack of equal treatment. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • My doctor is fat, probably at least a size 28 or 30. There are also many chairs in the waiting room with no arms.

      She’s still pretty pro-diet, but has agreed not to talk about mine after I spoke up and requested she not. Most of our interactions now are neutral.

  12. The video has been removed! Yay!

    I don’t think I’m strong enough to fight off the negative thoughts about myself that it would trigger in me. I’m GREAT at standing up for others, but the littlest things decimate what self-esteem I have.

  13. I ran into the same attitude when I started developing diabetes. My doctor told me that my weight was a contributing factor and that I was jeopardizing my health. I had to explain to both him, the nurse, AND the receptionist that skinny people get diabetes, too. Also, weight loss doesn’t even work, insulin does. So please treat my diabetes the same way you’d treat a thin person with diabetes, thank you very much.

    I like this approach of taking the fight directly to the doctors. They rely on online comments and other metrics like that. If a doctor thinks talking to a patient about their weight (unless they’re asked) is appropriate healthcare, we should target them and their business. That’s the way we get social change.

    • This is driving me crazy with my father right now. His doctor has actually told him that if could just get his weight down to the proper BMI/weight, then all his health concerns would just *disappear*! He wouldn’t be on any medications, or have diabetes, etc, etc. Any my father believes it 100% and blames himself for failing. Nothing I can say will change his mind (’cause I’m not a doctor, so what could I possibly know?).

      • Kinda sounds like my parents’ doc and my dad. The weight loss panacea.

  14. Sadly this attitude is perpetuated by medical practitioners all over the world. I’m based in Australia, and when I was on holidays I needed to go to a local GP for a tetanus injection.

    She took my blood pressure and expressed surprise that it was perfectly healthy. And then proceeded to tell me that I “needed” to lose weight – for no medical reason beyond the way she thought I looked, because my blood pressure was perfectly healthy.

    Whereupon I laid a formal complaint, because this doctor’s visit was shortly after I miscarried twins at 11 weeks. She had no way of knowing, which is kind of the point. All I needed was a tetanus injection, because I scratched my arm. She didn’t know my full medical history; it was an emergency appointment. And she had no right to judge me, but state guidelines have informed doctors that it’s their “duty” to intervene when a patient looks overweight, regardless of whether or not their weight is having any effect on their health.

  15. “…state guidelines have informed doctors that it’s their “duty” to intervene when a patient looks overweight, regardless of whether or not their weight is having any effect on their health.”

    That’s extremely disheartening to hear. I know that fat bigotry runs rampant here in the US, it’s just really sad to hear that it’s just as bad (and probably even worse) in other countries. I keep hoping it’s just a local insanity, but nope, it seams to be global and growing.😦


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