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to expect health care professionals to be realistic about obesity

(109 Posts)
chocolatehobnobs Wed 21-Sep-11 19:11:54

I have just seen a male student nurse walk past my flat window with DP and 2 sweet young DDs. He works on a ward and is 30 stone plus ie morbidly obese. I was horrified to see him carrying a family bucket of KFC.
Last week in the operating theatre a colleague asked me why I had prescribed antibiotics for a patient when another patient having the same operation had not been given them. I replied 'because she is fat' ( longer surgery and obesity mean higher risk of wound complications and infection). She then challenged me in front of our other colleagues saying that she didn't think I should have used the word fat about a patient. I replied that we are all health professionals and all understand that fat is a plain term for raised body mass index or obese and that the patient was not upset as unconscious. She replied that as the patient's advocate she did not want the patient to be referred to as fat or have their weight discussed. I think she was upset as a morbidly obese person herself.
Honestly, I just think that if health professionals cannot accept that obesity is a major health risk and discuss it openly then what chance have we got to improve things.

soggy14 Wed 21-Sep-11 19:17:08

would you be allowed to use the word "smoker" about a patient?

Anniegetyourgun Wed 21-Sep-11 19:18:18

Fatists annoy me angry

laptopdancer Wed 21-Sep-11 19:18:25

I think you need to use more professional language tbh.

laptopdancer Wed 21-Sep-11 19:19:13

Anf d Im yet to see the relevance of the chap with the KFC

theowlwhowasafraidofthedark Wed 21-Sep-11 19:19:57

Hmmm, I don't think the words fat and obese should be used interchangeably tbh. Obese does have a medical definition, fat does not. I personally would not call someone fat because I would assume they would take offence.

I agree with you about being honest with people and calling a spade a spade (just politely).

Not sure what kfc bucket has got to do with your major point - are you saying he should be fired?

FabbyChic Wed 21-Sep-11 19:21:36

They don't operate on fat people they turn they away, so why is it you get obese people working for the NHS? Seems mental if you ask me and does not in any way shape or form give the right impression.

If there was a fat person and a slim person waiting for an operation its guaranteed the one who is normal weight will get it whilst the fat person would not. They would have to lose weight first. They are a drain on the NHS because in some cases they are sick because they are fat.

ThatsNotMyBabyBelly Wed 21-Sep-11 19:22:25

I'm surprised a 30 stone man would be walking anywhere let alone working on a ward.

Fat is used as an insult though. If you had said it was due to her being obese then I think that would be more professional.

Difference between referring to an alcoholic as an alcoholic or a drunk imo.

BimboNo5 Wed 21-Sep-11 19:23:42

Obese is more acceptable to me than fat.
Other than that I dont get your OP, did a male student nurse walk past with two sweet DD's and DP? You lost me there tbh.

laptopdancer Wed 21-Sep-11 19:23:44

Just imagining if I wrote "patient is really fat" in medical notes

shock

GypsyMoth Wed 21-Sep-11 19:23:47

Too right fabby!

hiddenhome Wed 21-Sep-11 19:23:56

Why didn't you just say that the patient has a very high bmi and is therefore at risk?

I had the misfortune of assisting in theatre once and had to listen to the qualified staff referring to one female patient as a "beached whale" sad

Let's be respectful at least.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Wed 21-Sep-11 19:25:43

i work in a hospital
we use "overweight" if our patient is overweight, and "obese" if our patient is obese. "fat" is not sufficiently accurate and also ambiguous. i have never heard the term "fat" used in a professional discussion.

BimboNo5 Wed 21-Sep-11 19:25:44

Erm Fabby you are chatting shit, of course they operate on fat people, hence the reason they have bariatric operating tables...

OpenMouthInsertFoot Wed 21-Sep-11 19:25:51

So he was with his family - and they had a family meal from kfc? <shrug> ok, if you are huge (like me) it's probably better to live on lettuce, but people aren't perfect and don't always do the sensible thing. Especially when it comes to food. It's hard sometimes.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the word fat. As long as it is relevent, not hurled at me from across the street or something. as long as it is not used abusively or to bully, what's the problem? Calling it something else doesn't make us thin grin. Fat. It's just a description.

I find 'obese' more jarring than fat. It just sounds fatter than plain old fat grin

I don't see anything wrong with saying that you had to do something because someone is fat, that you had to do it because they are fat. It's not an insult, it is a statement of fact.

OpenMouthInsertFoot Wed 21-Sep-11 19:27:21

Oh, and re medical professionals not using the word - I went to my old gp about something and she said "it's because you're so fat."

Call a spade a spade, I say grin

BimboNo5 Wed 21-Sep-11 19:28:10

He might not have been having any KFC, he may have had a sensible meal at home

iklboo Wed 21-Sep-11 19:28:19

I honestly saw a letter from a consultant to a GP that said 'Thank you for sending me this absolute whale of a child'.
Let's hope the child's mother (or the child himself when he is older) asks to see the medical records.

BimboNo5 Wed 21-Sep-11 19:29:10

OMFG, I did happen to lol a little at that iklboo, I feel mean now

FabbyChic Wed 21-Sep-11 19:31:30

They operate less on fat people especially those with heart disease, they are more at risk when under the knife because they are fat.

I've no problem with the word fat, I was FAT, Im still FAT, and I don't have a problem with it.

I'm fat to me, Im a stone overweight my belly is so big I have to lift it to shave, so hence I'm fat even if Im only a size 12.

ThatsNotMyBabyBelly Wed 21-Sep-11 19:33:36

You can call yourself what you like though Fabby, it is different for a professional to refer to a patient as fat. And medically inaccurate it would seem.

MeconiumHappens Wed 21-Sep-11 19:35:00

I think you need to use more professional language. If you told me a patient was obese i'd think fair enough, if you said fat I would feel a bit uncomfortable as it is less professional, and feels a bit loaded with judgement. I am all for saying it as it is in terms of health and obesity, but if you dont think language is loaded then maybe you need to work on your people skills. I don't see why you would have a problem with that.

Also what are you jabbering on about the man with the kfc for? Yes he's obese, yes he's eating kfc, how is that relevant to what you do at work or the point you were making?

gigglepin Wed 21-Sep-11 19:37:21

You were being offensive.
Purely because you clearly have an issue with people being over weight.

I GET why you have issues, i probably share your issues and absolutely see your point, If they are valid, however, just because the patient was asleep, doesnt mean that you can say what ever you want.

You will ALWAYS be challenged for using offensive language by other HCP who will take their role as the patients advocate seriously.

For that reason, YABU.
HCP are realistic about barriatric patients, they are faced with them on a daily basis now and all of the problems that they present (believe me, i have been challenged with numerous issues) but i havent met one yet who have been sneery about them.

They are entitled to a duty of care as much as any one....also to be respected as individuals.

Onemorning Wed 21-Sep-11 19:50:34

YABU

BimboNo5 Wed 21-Sep-11 20:27:14

Fabby you need to stop projecting your own fat issues onto everyone else in the world

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