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Research shows doctor fat shaming could impact health

Some Iowa patients who are overweight might have been subjected to fat shaming and disrespectful treatment at their doctor's office. This can be harmful to a patient both physically and mentally, and it can cause a patient to delay from seeking medical treatment in an effort to avoid having to talk to their medical professionals.

After reviewing 46 past studies and patients' reports of fat shaming, researchers found that fat shaming from doctors had a significant negative impact on the patients' health. Further, it also lead to a decrease in the trust between patients and their doctors. In some cases, researchers also found that doctors assumed that a patient's weight was responsible for causing whatever health condition the patient may have had, leading to a misdiagnosis of that health condition.

At an American Psychological Association convention, where the findings were presented, one of the researchers said that fat shaming and recommending different treatments based on a patient's size was a form of medical malpractice. For example, the research showed that doctors often simply advised larger patients to lose weight while recommending other forms of treatment, such as blood work or CAT scans, for average-sized patients complaining of the same symptoms.

When a doctor misdiagnoses a patient's condition purely based on the patient's weight, the patient could suffer serious harm. In some cases, the patient may suffer a worsened medical condition or additional health complications. This could lead to the need for additional treatment or cause a patient life-long complications. People who have been harmed in such a manner might want to meet with an attorney to see if this constituted compensable medical malpractice.

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