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Study: Docs show less concern, empathy for obese patients

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 35 Replies

Study: Docs show less concern, empathy for obese patients

Johns Hopkins researcher: Be mindful of negative attitudes

When it comes to biomedical communications--history taking, health education and lifestyle discussions--physicians treat all of their patients the same, a recent study from Johns Hopkins Medicine found. However, audiotaped encounters between 39 primary care doctors and 208 of their patients revealed a major difference in the amount of empathy physicians provided for overweight and obese patients compared to their normal-weight counterparts, researchers wrote in the current issue of the journal Obesity.

Kimberly Gudzune, M.D., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues found that physicians expressed concern, reassurance and legitimation of patients' feelings far less often with heavier patients. As a result, doctors were 35 percent less likely to have an emotional rapport with their overweight patients and 31 percent less likely to connect with obese patients, noted MedPage Today.

The consequences of this disparity, according to researchers, is that patients who don't have as strong of a bond with their physicians are less likely to comply with those doctors' medical advice.

"I hear from patients all the time about how they resent feeling judged negatively because of their weight," Gudzine said in a statement. "Yes, doctors need to be medical advisors, but they also have the opportunity to be advocates to support their patients through changes in their lives."

To fulfill this role better for all of their patients, physicians should "be mindful of any negative attitudes, make an effort to bond and then spend time with overweight and obese patients discussing psychosocial and lifestyle issues," Gudzine said.



Read more: Study: Docs show less concern, empathy for obese patients - FiercePracticeManagement http://www.fiercepracticemanagement.com/story/study-obese-overweight-patients-get-less-empathy-doctors-physicians/2013-04-24#ixzz2RQPJhSLM 
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Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM
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Replies (1-10):
wkukid
by Beach Bum on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

It's true. When I was obese my doctor blamed everything on me being overweight. I could have had cancer and that would have been why.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:09 PM

they also treat my husband differently because he is overweight, and like to blame his physical limitations on that, rather than his near death car accident. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM
What doctor has time to connect or bond with any of his patients? I see a different doctor every time I go. I've never even met the person listed as my primary care physician...
Rosebud27aj
by Amanda on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:14 PM

My primary doc is awesome...I've been with him for 11 years now...I'm overweight, but he talks to me about losing weight and gives me ideas on different ways how, what I can do and eat...every time I have a health problem he never blames it on my weight, he always tries to find out why...

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM

what the hell kind of care is that?? i'd find a primary i can depend on, if that was the case...one of the many reasons i switched outta the clinic and into private practice


Quoting Anonymous:

What doctor has time to connect or bond with any of his patients? I see a different doctor every time I go. I've never even met the person listed as my primary care physician...



Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:16 PM
Sad and true.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 4 on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:17 PM
2 moms liked this
Doctors seem not to care much about patients that don't care about themselves
OrangeBalloon
by Platinum Member on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:22 PM
1 mom liked this

And a patient that doesn't care about themselves obviously has a deep rooted issue that needs to be addressed instead of ignored. 

Quoting Anonymous:

Doctors seem not to care much about patients that don't care about themselves


Anonymous
by Anonymous 5 on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Obesity is preventable and reversible but it is all too common and causing a ton of health problems in this country. Maybe doctors get sick of seeing people destroying their health and then looking to them for prescriptions to fix their symptoms. You have to treat the underlying cause not just the symptoms and when it comes to disease and sickness caused by weight, I'm sure doctors have the mentality that you cannot help someone who refuses to help themselves.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 6 on Apr. 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM

It doesn't say that the doctors were rude or mean, just that they expressed less empathy.  Doctors have their own lives and can't take on everyone's problems.  They might feel more empathy with people who have an illness they have no control over than with people who aren't taking care of themselves.  They are only human.

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