Fat Healthcare – The Good, The Bad, and The Progress

Bad DoctorIn response to a campaign that speaks out about, and seeks to stop, doctors shaming women who are members of oppressed populations, Dr. Lisa Girgis has penned a spectacular tribute to derailment, tone-deafness and victim blaming. I wrote about it for the ASDAH Blog. So this was at the top of my mind when I read several articles today about a recently-built hospital that was designed to be accommodating to fat patients and fat visitors. The articles were all problematic in the way that they talk about fat patients (too problematic for me to link to them) but it was the comments that were really interesting to me (TW:  The indented sections contain fat hate, concern trolling, and general crappy behavior)

Hospitals aren’t helping these people by accommodating them.

Actually, making healthcare facilities accessible to people, and then providing them with the healthcare they need is basically the definition of helping people.  What would not be helpful, would be for the hospital to not accommodate fat people who need the healthcare that the hospital provides, thus possibly leading to people dying.

Did they ever think that not being able to fit in the bathroom is the wake up call that these people need?

Did this person ever think that fat people who go to the hospital are in need of medical care, not some “wake up call?” Even if someone believes, despite the complete lack of evidence, that long-term weight loss is possible for most people, the kind of weight loss that they are talking about would take a lot of time, and this person obviously needs help from the hospital now, so what the hell do they want them to do about the restroom?  This is where the concern trolls show their true colors, you think fat people shouldn’t have access to a restroom while we’re hospitalizedl so that we can be encouraged to become thin?  Tell me again how you’re “concerned about my health.” On second thought, please don’t.

Blah blah muh tax dollarz blah blah

This is total bullshit.  If that’s not immediately apparent, feel free to head over here for an explanation.

So there are doctors who confuse victim blaming with ethical medicine, and there are horrible people who think that fat people should die rather than be accommodated by hospitals, a lot of these people are also those who haven’t thought this through at all and are just repeating what they’ve heard.  the good news is that, despite these people and their seriously screwed up ideas, the article against medical shaming got written, the hospital that accommodates fat people got built.  Progress is happening. We’re obviously not there yet, but progress is happening.

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This is a virtual conference so you can listen to the talks by phone and/or computer wherever you are. Whether you are looking for support in your personal life with family, friends, healthcare providers etc. or you’re interested in being more public with your activism with blogging, petitions, protest, projects, online activism, or something else, this conference will give you tools and perspectives to support you  and your work, and to help you make that work intentionally intersectional and inclusive, so that nobody gets left behind.

Get all the details here!

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Published in: on September 3, 2015 at 7:28 am  Comments (15)  

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That article was so incredibly well written! THANK YOU!!!

  2. Sure like to have one of those fat shamers demonstrate how to stay in hospital for say, 3 days, without emptying one’s bladder the entire time. If a fat person is expected to do this, then certainly a **superior** thin person can easily accomplish this feat-right?

    • You’re right. In fact, for the sake of hospital sterility, we should just remove restrooms from ALL hospitals. However, thin patients will be issued complimentary bedpans.

      As for hospital beds that will accommodate fat patients? Just toss a mattress on the floor. The lack of a proper bed will motivate the fat patients to magically lose weight in an instant, and in the meantime, the doctors and nurses won’t mind, at all, crawling on the floor to administer medical care.

      Making scanners that accommodate patients of size? No problem! Just skip the scan, and let the doctors guess what’s wrong with their patients. Doctors LOVE guessing, without any information. It’s their favorite thing in the world!

      /Sarcasm off/

      Accommodating fat patients doesn’t only help the patients. It helps the nurses, doctors, technicians, and even administrators, of the facility. It lowers the incidence of malpractice suits and wrongful death and injury suits, and other such problems. There is no logical reason NOT to accommodate fat patients.

    • If I can’t use the toilet, then I’ll just do it in the bed. Then the (thin) nurses will have to clean it up.

  3. “Did they ever think that not being able to fit in the bathroom is the wake-up call that these people need?”
    Does this knucklehead actually think that people need a “wake-up call” to realize that they’re fat? The person is already well aware of their size. If they’re in the hospital, what they need is medical care, not size shaming.
    Fat people exist. Fat people will continue to exist. They deserve medical care without shame, just like everyone else does.

  4. Succinct and insightful as always. Continue to preach it OUT LOUD.

  5. Reblogged this on mickiallen and commented:
    I can handle blatant fat sha/ters because they’re so easy to dismiss, but it’s the concern trolls that are our most dangerous adversaries. They wrap their bigotry manure in a fancy package of misplaced compassion and top it with a sparkly bow of [self] righteous indignation, but it’s still nothing but scorn and disgust in a gaudy box of bigotry which never passes muster with any other faction of the population in civilized society.

    • “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

      I frequently think of this quote whenever a chunk of War on Obesity propaganda falls on my head.

      • That is a good quote.

  6. “Hospitals aren’t helping these people by accommodating them” — ?????!!!!!

    The last time I was in the hospital, four years ago, it was because of sudden life-threatening hyponatremia (low blood sodium) caused by a terrible reaction to a diuretic my cardiologist had prescribed for me. (We’ve sorted the medications out now and I’m doing well.)

    I came into the emergency room at night after fainting. My sodium levels were so low that the drs on call were very worried I was about to go into grand mal seizures. The next steps in hyponatremia after seizures are “coma and death.” This was SERIOUS. I was put right into intensive care and monitored with extreme attention as they slowly brought my blood sodium back up. If they bring it up too quickly, the patient can suffer irreparable brain damage.

    In other words, this was a fricking EMERGENCY and my life was in genuine danger. I got excellent, compassionate, devoted care from the doctors, and the nurses were beyond praise. No-one fat-shamed me; the bed fit me; the nurses were able to lift and turn me as needed because they worked in pairs.

    So I’d be really interested to hear how this hospital was NOT helping me by accommodating me!!! What do the idiots who make such statements expect — that I should magically lose 80 pounds after fainting but before my distraught husband called the ambulance? That the ER personnel should tell me to come back with my life-threatening hyponatremia after I’ve starved myself? Or WHAT?

    The mind boggles.

    • That is scary to hear. I’m sure I’ve suffered from that too, as I would black out sometimes (I think the proper term is brown out, since I didn’t lose total awareness, just the edges of my vision). Except in my case I had been threatened so many times, that I never bothered to see a doctor, and just learned to live with it for over 10 yrs. I also used to suffer some seizures, especially at night and when there were light flashes, but I think that was more to do with the low blood sugar, since I only ever ate once every 72 hrs. My dad always got a kick out of watching me lose control, and jerk uncontrollably, and would say “do it again”.

      • That’s even scarier to hear. I’m sorry.😦

      • That’s absolutely horrible. I’m so sorry.

  7. If the healthcare system isn’t intending to kill off the fatter population, they are doing an awefully good job of it! But I don’t feel that everyone in the system hates fat people, as I have witnessed many examples of love and compassion on the part of some providers. Anyway, I am in awe of your work!

    • It’s great to hear from you after such a long time. Your work in Naafa was truly ground breaking and original and I am truly indebted to you for awakening my understanding of the severe discrimination which exists against all fat people and Fa’s.Thank you for a lot of the insight which helped me to get my head together. Ken Wachtel


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