Some Ob-gyns Turning Away Overweight Women
May 17, 2011
by Kim Hays
A Florida newspaper asked 105 ob-gyn practices if they have weight cut-offs for new patients. Shockingly, 15 practices said they do and refuse to accept women who weigh over 200 pounds or are classified as obese.
Their reasons: Most said because their equipment isn't designed to hold or treat someone that large. But others admitted they were trying to avoid overweight patients because they are higher risk patients.
It's not new for ob-gyns to turn down overweight pregnant women. They usually refer them to specialists who monitor high-risk pregnancies. However, it IS new is that they're turning down overweight women who aren't expecting.
Plus: Can Birth by C-Section Lead to Obesity?
"People don't realize the risk we're taking by taking care of these patients," said Dr. Albert Triana told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. His South Miami ob-gyn practice declines new patients with a BMI that classifies them as obese. "There's more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies]."
And by "complicated" he doesn't just mean medically, but also legally. Ob-gyns in South Florida (and probably elsewhere int he country) complain about lawsuits that sometimes accompany difficult births, resulting in sky-high malpractice insurance rates.
Plus: Illinois Might Tax Parents for Having Obese Kids
In case you're wondering, docs can refuse to see anyone for any reason, as long as it's not discriminatory. I guess the question here is whether this fits the definition of "discriminatory." Have you ever felt a doctor hesitate to take you on because of a weight problem?