Web Exclusive: Too Big To Treat?

(CNN/WCVB) - A woman in Massachusetts says she needs a new doctor because hers told her she is too fat to treat. She says the doctor has a policy of not seeing patients who weigh more than 200 pounds because they are a danger to the staff.

Ida Davidson looks like a lot of Americans, she admits it, a little overweight. Davidson says she was stunned when on a second visit to a new primary doctor, she was informed they didn't want her as a patient, because of her weight.

"She was telling me that she couldn't care for me because I was over 200 pounds, I mean, I've never heard anything like that, I thought doctors were there to help you."

She's right it doesn't happen much, though it's not illegal.  and, the country's major physician group says it's ethical as well. The AMA says patients and doctors can "exercise freedom in choosing with whom to enter into a patient physician relationship."

"For people who are established patients they're grandfathered in so it doesn't apply to them, but I've had at least 2 people be very motivated."

They've lost weight. Doctor Carter says she began screening out the overweight in the Spring after several of her staff were injured. She spends time educating patients about obesity, which she says, is best treated elsewhere.

"There are alternatives there's an obesity center at UMASS better staffed and has more resources than I do."

The CDC says a third of all American adults are obese. But Ida Davidson says it's not just weight, she says the doctor didn't care about her health and was more concerned about her being a liability, and maybe too much work.


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