Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Do Doctors Even Care?

In the past month I’ve come to realize that either:

1. Doctors don’t really care about the health, well-being and dieting efforts of obese patients.


2. Doctors don’t know how to treat obese patients in a respectful and educated manner.

I haven’t figured out which of these two are closer to the truth. It is obvious that medical doctors have not been properly trained in nutrition, exercise and diet; therefore they are unable to offer educated advice to patients who are struggling with their weight.

Who knows… maybe there are some doctors out there who specialize in these areas, but in my experience (and from the anecdotal experiences of others I’ve met) doctors are not the best resource for people who struggle with their weight. Oh sure, they’ll treat your diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure – but they can not intelligently guide you on a path to lose the excess weight that is causing these health issues.

Over the past couple months I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with the medical profession.

My primary care physician (PCP) told me that if I just ate less and exercised more that the weight would come off. But on a 1200 calorie diet and exercising 1 hour a day, 6 days a week resulted in no weight loss for me. After losing 24 pounds in the first 4 months of a low-cal, low-fat diet with vigorous exercise, all the weight came back plus some. Even while continuing to diet, I was gaining weight. So how can my PCP tell me that everything I was doing should be working and to just try harder?

My gynecologist diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) over six years ago. It was only within the last couple months that I’ve learned exactly what this syndrome is doing to my body. And when I confronted my gynecologist about the various symptoms I’ve been dealing with he just said, “Yes, I know. PCOS is a difficult thing to treat. Eventually you’ll develop diabetes and heart disease.” Gee! Thanks for letting ME know all this when you first diagnosed me! He went on to say that Bariatric surgery might help me lose the weight and that conventional diets don’t really help someone with PCOS. Again, thanks for the info but it’s a little late for that now!

You know what else really really bothers me? I met with my PCP 4 times over the past year and with my gynecologist 4 times as well. (Lots of doctor appointments this past year!) At each and every one of those appointments I discussed my diet and exercise program with both doctors. Yes, I might have been at their office for something other than diet, but the conversation always turned to what I was doing to lose weight. Of those EIGHT appointments there was ONE notation in my medical records that said “Patient continues to diet.” That’s it. Just once. And just one little sentence. Why wouldn’t a medical professional record everything that was discussed with a patient during an appointment? I simply don’t understand that.

Can you tell I’m a bit angry? I honestly don’t know who to trust with my medical care anymore. I received more compassion and advice from the receptionist at my gynecologist’s office than from any medical professional in the past year. That’s a very sad state of affairs if you ask me.

More later…


  1. Dear Pam --

    Does this mean you are not going to have the surgery?

    I, too, struggle with weight issues. Along with your journal, I read "" Maybe there's something there to help you?
    Jaydots (

  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes I still plan to have surgery, but right now it's a year away. Need to fulfil the 12-month diet requirement (again!) and have it documented this time. I'll be writing another post today or tomorrow with details about that.



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