Some ob-gyns in South Florida turn away overweight women

Sun Sentinel, May 17, 2011
In a nation with 93 million obese people, a few ob-gyn doctors in South Florida now refuse to see otherwise healthy women solely because they are overweight. Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the Sun Sentinel said they have set weight cut-offs for new patients starting at 200 pounds or based on measures of obesity—and turn down women who are heavier. Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can't handle people over a certain weight. But at least six said they were trying to avoid obese patients because they have a higher risk of complications. "People don't realize the risk we're taking by taking care of these patients," said Albert Triana, MD, whose two-physician practice in South Miami declines patients classified as obese. "There's more risk of something going wrong and more risk of getting sued. Everything is more complicated with an obese patient in GYN surgeries and in [pregnancies]." Plantation ob-gyn partners Jeffrey Solomon and Isabel Otero-Echandi turn down any woman weighing more than 250 pounds.

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2 comments on "Some ob-gyns in South Florida turn away overweight women"

Robert Trinka (5/23/2011 at 11:14 AM)
Wendy, I don't disagree with your opinion on this discriminative practice, but welcome to the beginning stages of ObamaCare. As you know, there was no protection or concession offered to physicians to mitigate their medical liability under PPACA. Secondly, there will soon be over 50 million more patients from the uninsured and underinsured ranks all of whom will have comprehensive major medical insurance with most of the premium paid or subsidized by the Federal Government. All of these people will be looking for physicians on the day they get this essentially "free" coverage. There will not be an increased number of physicians available (studies indicate there will actually be fewer physicians), and the physicians who remain in practice will have to make difficult choices on the patients they will or won't treat. Most will start with the patients they have treated in the past and go from there until their capacity/calendar is full - there are only so many hours in the day. Whether the physicians choose their patients by weight, height, marital status, race/ethnicity, first-in-line, or whatever criteria; it will be their choice and there is really nothing anyone can do about it. Although I am not an advocate of any type of government run health care, if the Democrats had implemented a true universal care, European style system, physicians would be employed by the government (with hospitals and other facilities owned by the government). Under that type of system, the physicians must do what their job description calls for and there is little, if any, physician responsibility (or cost) for medical malpractice. All patient prejudice can be removed, and we all have to wait our turn on a fair and equal basis. Some get treated on time, others eventually get care, others are denied coverage for the specific treatment they need or want, and some die waiting their turn. Now that's fair.

Wendy (5/19/2011 at 2:39 PM)
This is unbelievable. Several years ago, OB/GYNs lobbied the Fl legislature to expand the definition of a primary care provider to include OB/GYNs. That was in response to patients not having access to that specialty for preventive health services (pap smear, breast exam). The definition of a PCP and preventive health services is actually broader than this. This is blatant cherry picking and these providers should be reported to the DOH.




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