Like a Hole in the Head

Is how much I need another blog. And yet…

Thorn and I have become so outraged by all the stories we’re hearing about fat people’s encounters with asshole health professionals, we’ve decided to start a blog devoted to collecting them all in one place. Sort of a Fatty Health Hollaback.

We’re still working on adding all the resources we’d like to have on the site, but in the meantime, if you have a story to share — even if you’ve already shared it in comments — please send it to fathealth@gmail.com.

As Thorn put it:

Honestly, this stuff continues because it’s invisible. Doctors get away with it because they know no one is going to call them on it. They know that once they’ve run us down, we’ll be so ashamed we won’t want to tell anyone, and so their cruelty is never noticed or called out. And our experiences disappear as well, because we all internalize what is said to us and we all assume that these doctors aren’t running around treating everyone like this, that it’s just us because we are so horrible and so fat that we don’t deserve humane treatment.

I find myself hoping that if all these stories are in one place, where we can see how widespread it is, and how ubiquitous it is, then we can stop feeling ashamed and start getting angry, like we ought to be. And also, if there are all these collected stories, maybe even the occasional doctor will see it and realize just how much damage they can cause with even just a thoughtless remark, never mind when they actually go on the offensive.

Exactly.

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14 Comments

Filed under 09_kate_harding

14 responses to “Like a Hole in the Head

  1. mandy312

    The only story I can relate, involves a one week old baby which makes it even sadder. My cousin & I had our babies in the same month. Her daughter was 8 lbs 6 oz at birth more than a pound less than my daughter. However, her doctor told her that her daughter was a fat baby. She advised her to cut back her babies bottles to 5 or 6 per day. Even though most health professionals suggest 8 to 12 bottles per day for a newborn.

    My cousin was so upset that she walked out of that appointment and found a new doctor. I hate to even think of the developmental problems her baby may have had if she had followed that advice and starved her newborn. (The same doctor also gave that same advice to my sister in law. She didn’t follow it but she continues to see the same doctor.)

  2. It’s horrible that such a site is even needed, but I wish you all the best – if it makes a difference for even one person, it’d be worth it.

    How up-and-running is it currently? Would it be worth sending my friends in med school to it now, or should I give you a week or two to work out the bugs?

  3. Kate Harding

    Rana, do give us a week or two, please. We’re collecting stories and also trying to get together as many links as possible to fat-positive/health at every size resources, plus a primer on how to complain about unprofessional health care, among other things.

    Mandy312, do you mind if I republish that story? Unbelievable.

  4. mandy312

    Kate, feel free to republish that. I remember how scared I was going into my daughter’s first appointment because of that story. I was sure they would tell me my baby was fat too. She was 9 lbs 11 oz when she was born & weighed 10 lbs 10 oz at her first appointment. But my doctor didn’t say anything other than she was healthy.

  5. Wow. I weighed 8lb 3oz when I was born and I am thin now as I have always been, and not because my parents starved me. I never knew I was in such “danger”.

    I love Shapely Prose, and I’m very excited for this new one as well, especially since I’m in my last year of clinical training for Chinese medicine. I haven’t been in clinic very long, but long enough to hear a few stories that left me shaking my head, long enough for a patient last week to grab my arm with tears in her eyes because not only did her dizziness and ear-ringing stop for the first time in 2 years, she also said this was her first experience in a long time where the practitioner didn’t chide (let alone berate) her for being fat (we often do include diet and exercise advice as part of a long-term treatment plan, but only in so far it will bring someone back to a better energetic balance and feeling of overall well-being, since that was the only yardstick the ancient Chinese had).

    And while both my medical tradition and the setting in which I am learning it emphasize treating the whole patient, I have grown up in a fat-phobic (fascist?) society, and am practicing alongside a fat-phobic and even though I’m trying like hell to do something different sometimes I don’t always know. So thank-you to everyone for sharing your stories and thank-you to Kate for making a safe space for them. It means more to me than you know!

  6. A great resource that you probably aleady know about, but just in case:
    http://www.the-f-word.org/blog/

  7. NameChanged

    Thank you Kate. This will be helpful to all.

  8. Jess

    Kate, please let me know if you need help with anything.

  9. Kate Harding

    Yep, Two Knives, I’m already a huge fan of the F-word! She’s doing awesome stuff.

    And Jess, thanks for the offer!

  10. Wow. I can’t tell you how excited I am for a new blog. After having some issues with my most recent doctor (on the first and last visit), I’ve been searching for resources on fat friendly medical care. It’ll be nice to have all of this information gathered on one site, rather than sifting through outdated brochures on NAAFA’s website.

  11. This is an absolutely wonderful idea for a blog. Totally great.

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