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Should Doctors Institute Weight Limits for Patients?

Dr. Helen Carter is no longer accepting patients who weigh over 200 pounds or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30. What do you think about her new rule?

Should doctors be able to institute weight limits for patients as a way of avoiding injuries, or is this discrimination against people who may need help? 

The question stems from Dr. Helen Carter, a Worcester-based doctor is no longer accepting new patients who are obese, according to WBUR—specifically, patients who weigh over 200 pounds or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30.

Carter told WBUR that her new policy is "self-preservation," instituted because another doctor in her practice had been seriously injured pulling out the exam table foot rest for a patient who weighed 280 pounds.

The policy isn't discriminatory, Carter told WBUR, because patients have access to other doctors in the area, including some facilities that cater to patients who need to tackle weight loss. She is also not dismissing any current patients who don't meet her standards, saying that the policy "give them a goal ... the problem with obesity is it has become socially acceptable." 

Read the full report at WBUR and tell us: Do you think it's fair for Carter to institute such a policy at her private practice for safety reasons? Or does it discriminate against people who need help from a doctor? Tell us your reaction in the comments below.

Jacquie Beard September 12, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Firstly, I agree that she is in the WRONG profession. She should be working non-biological entities, rather than diseased human beings. I wonder if she chooses or dismisses other patents because they have Anorexia or Bulimia, or because of the safety factor does she consider; the lighter the better? Secondly, was the 280 lb. person sitting on the foot rest? If not, how much could the foot rest weigh with the feet on it? And if it was too heavy to pull out with the feet on it, couldn't or shouldn't the other doctor (with all their education) have simply asked the person to lift their feet? I'm sorry, but I couldn't respect a doctor who a so little feeling, or trust a doctor who had so little sense. As Forrest Gump said: "Stupid is as stupid does." Really STUPID!
Norman B Pierce September 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
It makes sense that the doctor would not treat the medical illness called obesity if the doctor knows that she is not emotionally equipped to do that work. Acknowledging a limitation is always wise- but don't blame the person for being sick. Norm
Deanie September 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Isn't that a PRE-Existing condition!!! HUMMMM!
Steve Pitney September 17, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Perhaps this is 'tough love', which we all need sometime. BTW, Obamacare will start doing the same thing as EBT cards and lack of work create more and more obesity.
Steve Pitney September 17, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I think that patients with healthier lifestyles should pay less for insurance and have a greater choice in Drs. I am monogamous, straight and at good weight, watch my diet. Odds are I will not be a burden the health care system...

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