Like a Hole in the Head

Is how much I need another blog. And yet…

Thorn and I have become so outraged by all the stories we’re hearing about fat people’s encounters with asshole health professionals, we’ve decided to start a blog devoted to collecting them all in one place. Sort of a Fatty Health Hollaback.

We’re still working on adding all the resources we’d like to have on the site, but in the meantime, if you have a story to share — even if you’ve already shared it in comments — please send it to fathealth@gmail.com.

As Thorn put it:

Honestly, this stuff continues because it’s invisible. Doctors get away with it because they know no one is going to call them on it. They know that once they’ve run us down, we’ll be so ashamed we won’t want to tell anyone, and so their cruelty is never noticed or called out. And our experiences disappear as well, because we all internalize what is said to us and we all assume that these doctors aren’t running around treating everyone like this, that it’s just us because we are so horrible and so fat that we don’t deserve humane treatment.

I find myself hoping that if all these stories are in one place, where we can see how widespread it is, and how ubiquitous it is, then we can stop feeling ashamed and start getting angry, like we ought to be. And also, if there are all these collected stories, maybe even the occasional doctor will see it and realize just how much damage they can cause with even just a thoughtless remark, never mind when they actually go on the offensive.

Exactly.

Posted in Fat

25 thoughts on “Like a Hole in the Head

  1. Are we naming names? Should we be?

    Also, it would be awesome if once there were enough entries, someone did a little statistical analysis on things like how fat the patients were on average and how many are women. I think it would be striking to show how frequently women are targeted, and how little overweight you have to be to get doctors breathing down your neck.

  2. Good point about the stats, Jess.

    As for naming names, I’m all for it in theory, but frankly, I want to check with a lawyer about whether that could get us in trouble.

  3. Kate, I think the utility of naming names is undeniable, but could be imitated with two things: frequent links to the Fat-Friendly Health Professionals list with exhortations to add good doctors to it, and information and advice about self-advocacy. That way you wouldn’t have to tell people specific doctors to avoid, with the attendant legal liabilities — you reward the good doctors, and give people the tools to deal with the bad ones.

  4. Jess, I think the idea about the stats is an excellent one. Because hopefully the more we see that it’s not just those of us who are “too fat”, but even a lot of people who are not “fat” at all, the more we’ll realize that this is not about us, this is about doctors who are more interested in abusing their authority as doctors to bully people than in preserving people’s health.

    (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!)

  5. The statistics could be interesting in terms of the weight and numbers, but in terms of how many are women… it is way too subjective. We are talking about how many of the people who have found their way to a blog about bad experiences with health care professionals due to size-ism are women… not exactly a regulated experiment.

    None of that should detract from, Kate, you are my hero.

  6. Great idea! A lot of people have been considering a sort of medical fraud concept against this kind of thinking. Starting an organization (And/or this blog) would be wonderful.

    I have no stories, however.

    Maybe I can go in for a check up, state that my intake is only doughnuts, and see the reaction. I’m sure there’s a handful of doctors in the world that would say “Well okkkkkkkk… juss don’t get fat! LOLOLLLLLLZZZZZ”…

  7. I have a couple of stories, but not, y’know, horror stories. Roberta has some fucking stories.

    I agree with Sara that it would be interesting to have doctors weigh in (oh I’m so funny), especially because that will get some medical eyeballs on the page.

  8. This is a great idea.

    Thorns series moved me, because of the combination of the doctors treatment (lack thereof) and family bombardment–both of which I’ve experienced as well, but on a much smaller scale.

    And, Kate? You could blog about the phone book, and I’d be
    refreshing my web page neurotically… :)

  9. And, Kate? You could blog about the phone book, and I’d be
    refreshing my web page neurotically…

    I second that.

  10. I think this is a marvelous idea. When I first found your blog, I was astonished by how good it felt just to know my experience wasn’t unique. It’s nice to know I’m not tte freak/outcast I thought I was. We need to spread the love.

  11. Very good idea. There is something very encouraging by knowing you’re not alone in having endured difficult experiences with medical professionals and a project like this would give voice to a lot of people. Great, great idea.

  12. Fantastic. I think having it in one place will hopefully be empowering. I also want to say that I’ve been encouraging people to post these stories, especially–but not limited to–ones that have to do with health insurance, to Michael Moore. He had a YouTube post asking people to video their stories so that he can post them and show them all to Congress. If he’s really going to do that, it’s a great way to get some of our stories heard. I can’t find his original post, but here’s something on someone who did send a story in to him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGJnEOZlaeE
    I know some people don’t agree with Moore and he’s not exactly a friend of fat pride, but I do hold out hope and he definetely has some sway.

  13. Kate, this is a great idea — but it might send you to the doctor with a case of exhaustion and stress! Frankly, I liked it when doctors drank martinis and smoked. This endoscopy is brought to you by low-tar Winstons!

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  15. I agree…what a great idea! There might be issues with listing dr’s names,but it would be nice to know who NOT to go to in a particular area. Maybe it could be something like ratemyprofessors.com?

  16. Laurie, I’m sure doctors still do drink martinis and smoke. They just don’t do it in the office! (And they prolly smoke cigars instead of cigarettes, the better to convince themselves they’re not really smokin’.)

    I do think a “fat prejudice in medicine” blog is a fine idea. Obviously fat people are not the only ones ill-treated by doctors; I have thin friends and relatives who have been treated just as badly. (In fact, I know thin, relatively young people whose problems were dismissed out of hand because “they couldn’t really be that sick.” Can’t win, can ya?) But it does seem like fat people are more likely to get scared away from going to doctors permanently because of their poor treatment, and that has to stop.

  17. Obviously fat people are not the only ones ill-treated by doctors;

    Oh, absolutely. And I have no idea if we’re any more likely to be scared away or not, honestly. All I know is, there are a ton of fat people with stories like these, and I think there should be a place to tell them.

    As always, I don’t think fat prejudice is the only fight out there; it’s just the one I happen to focus on.

  18. Yes, yes, yes, please do this. Reading Thorn’s posts and the stories in comments made me hope that someone would do exactly this! Thank you!

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