(photo courtesy of Canadian Obesity Network)

This is a story that moved me to tears.

Marty Enokson, while admitted to a hospital in Edmonton, was told that he couldn’t use the toilet because they were afraid he would break the seat. The nurses decided to set up fabric walls in a room shared with other patients, and bring in a commode for him to use instead.

Marty describes this as the most degrading experience of his life.

Medical Profession:  It’s time to smarten up. As a profession that is supposed to be empathetic, understanding and kind, we are doing poorly when it comes to obesity.  In fact, the stigma against obesity is unfortunately worse amongst medical professionals than amongst the general population.

As blogged previously, it is essential that all health care facilities are able to accommodate people of all shapes and sizes.   I encourage all health care professionals to stop and consider the experience a person with obesity may have in your office:

  • Do you have seats in the waiting room without armrests?
  • Are your doorways sufficiently wide?
  • Do you have weight sensitive magazines in the waiting room? (toss out Vogue and keep Reader’s Digest)
  • Are your examination tables comfortably wide?
  • Do you have stools for stepping up to exam table that are wide and stable?
  • Do you have scales, blood pressure cuffs, measuring tapes etc for people of all sizes?

To not have equipment and facilities to accommodate people with obesity is to stigmatize these individuals – indirectly, and perhaps without intention, but the end result is the same.

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