Help me deal with my condescending doctor!
February 16, 2005 9:59 AM Subscribe
Need help with a condescending doctor. This may be girls-only so if you have a problem with words like "ovaries," goodbye. It also involves my being a fat girl, so if you have the HURF DURF BUTTER EATER attitude, goodbye as well. [a lot mi]
posted by u.n. owen to Human Relations (76 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I recently moved and got new health insurance, and with that a new gynecologist. This was a weird step for me, as the only gynecologist I'd ever had before was the guy who delivered me as an infant. My old doc was fabulous and actually diagnosed me with PCOS (at a time when it was tremendously underdiagnosed) and helped me quite a bit with that.
Now, the new guy, I just went in to see for a Depo shot. No exam needed, I had one three months ago.
The moment I walked in, the man started with the judgments. He took my weight (I weigh about 250, I'm six feet tall, I've maintained this weight for roughly 3 years), then instantly launched into a diatribe on how I needed to lose weight. He recommended both a low-carbohydrate diet and skipping meals(!).
I patiently explained to him that in addition to the PCOS, I have exercise induced migraines, and have for well over a decade. They've done all the tests to make sure it's not a brain tumor or something else like that. I haven't "grown out of them." Exercising regularly doesn't get rid of them, it just puts me into constant misery.
I also told him that I walk 2 miles a day (1 mile to and from work) every weekday, and I figured that's more exercise than most people get.
His recommendation? "Increase that to about two hours of exercise a day by exercising for 45 minutes before you leave for work and 45 minutes after you get home."
Then he launched into the dietary stuff. "Stop eating beef!" he said. "eat more fish and chicken. No fast food."
I contemplated this, then told him I hadn't eaten beef in over a month, and had eaten broiled fish (which I enjoy, especially living here on the gulf coast where it's fresh!) three times in the week. He's like "oh, but I'm sure you're eating a lot of candy and junk food." Uh, no. Sorry, doc. The closest thing to junk food in my house at the time (I've received valentine's chocolate since!) was Terra sweet potato chips. Strike two.
Then, he started to tell me that I should "know my own body" and that it was surely my lack of awareness of my own exercise and diet that was causing my weight issues. I'm thinking, I've lived in my body for a good 20 years. I know it pretty well. You've known me for 45 minutes. What gives?
So AFTER he'd lectured me for literally an hour, talking about how I'd inevitably develop diabetes and such unless I followed all his recommendations and that I probably had never really looked at my food intake, he THEN took my blood pressure. It came out at 138/89, at which point he said "See? Your blood pressure is already elevated beyond what it's been in your other checkups in the last year. Obviously the weight is contributing to poor health."
I wasn't sure what good sputtering at him would do. I felt patronized and like I was about a foot tall. No matter what I told him about my body - or even what the medical records said - he didn't listen and just kept on going.
Here's what I want to know.
1) Am I right to be really frustrated/upset by this whole situation?
2) this seemed to be pretty far out of the scope of a gynecologist's duties, especially when I had only come in for birth control. He was refusing to give it to me until he'd lectured, though, and it would've taken me another 2 weeks to get an appointment elsewhere, and by then I'd be late for the shot and at risk for pregnancy. And he knew it.
3) Do I have any recourse here other than finding a new doctor?
4) How do I make sure I avoid having this kind of problem in the future? I have good insurance and can take my pick of a bunch of doctors. Saying to a co-worker "who's your gyno?" strikes me as...a bit personal. How do I manage to find someone who won't do this same crap?