If you’re overweight be warned: There’s a good chance your first-choice OB/GYN will refuse to see you.
That’s according to a new survey done by the Sun Sentinel. The newspaper polled 105 southern Florida obstetrics/gynecology practices and found that 15 said they refuse to see patients who don’t meet certain weight cut-offs. The criteria most used was either a weight of 200 pounds or being classified as obese.
It’s not unheard of for overweight pregnant women to be referred to specialists, but more doctors are now refusing to see any overweight women — whether or not they are pregnant or planning to conceive.
The reasons given centered on two main points: Some practices said their exam tables and other equipment couldn’t safely accommodate larger patients. Others said they were afraid of increased liability since obese patients are more likely to have complications.
It’s legal for doctors to refuse a patient for any reason — even simple personality conflicts — as long as the reason isn’t discriminatory. But the AMA, among other critics, says the practice of refusing to see obese patients goes against the “spirit” of the medical profession.
Ethics aside, as the population in general gets heavier and less fit, excluding obese patients could make it harder for practices to stay in business.
What’s your take: Should doctors be able to refuse obese patients? Would you go to one who does? Sound off in the comments.