Is The New Hampshire Board of Medicine
Casual About Obesity?
In an Abuse of Power They Attack a Physician
for Trying to Lower Diabetes, Cancer,
Arthritis and Heart Attacks
Dr. Terry Bennett says he tells obese patients their weight is bad for their health and their love lives, but the lecture drove one patient to complain to the state.
"I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett says. "I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "
He says he wrote a letter of apology to the woman when he found out she was offended.
Her complaint, filed about a year ago, was initially investigated by a panel of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which recommended that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the attorney general's office to investigate.
Bennett rejected that office's proposal that he attend a medical education course and acknowledge that he made a mistake.
Bruce Friedman, chairman of the board of medicine, said he could not discuss specific complaints. Assistant Attorney General Catherine Bernhard, who conducted the investigation, also would not comment, citing state law that complaints are confidential until the board takes disciplinary action.
The board's Web site says disciplinary sanctions may range from a reprimand to the revocation of all rights to practice in the state.
"Physicians have to be professional with patients and remember everyone is an individual. You should not be inflammatory or degrading to anyone," said board member Kevin Costin.
Other overweight patients have come to Bennett's defense.
"What really makes me angry is he told the truth," Mindy Haney told WMUR-TV on Tuesday. "How can you punish somebody for that?"
Haney said Bennett has helped her lose more than 150 pounds, but acknowledged that the initially didn't want to listen.
"I have been in this lady's shoes. I've been angry and left his practice. I mean, in-my-car-taking-off angry," Haney said. "But once you think about it, you're angry at yourself, not Doctor Bennett. He's the messenger. He's telling you what you already know."
It is very easy to simply ignore the increased diabetes risk of 1,000-3,000 percent due to being obese. Many forms of death are also increased significantly by obesity. It is easy to ignore a patient's smoking and excess alcohol abuse. But the board is thinking like lawyers and amateur counselors. A doctor is supposed to care enough to tell you the truth, so you are not in a casket 30-50 years too early. It is just another example of why some of the brightest minds want to leave medicine with DEA and FDA raids, malpractice cases and rates utterly out-of-control, and ignorant dated Medical Board Members using impaired or ignorant "experts" as their witnesses. It makes real estate look very attractive, and I know of many physicians who have made that their new career. Another smart one left medicine and owns a few buildings and a small lunch restaurant across from an HMO headquarters. She is getting rich.
And who loses? The next million obese patients who are asked about their "pet cat" or their "child's progress in college," instead of their struggles with deathly obesity.
It appears the KGB has nothing on some state medical boards.
This material was sent to Dr. Schaller anonymously, since the physician knows I will accept some material privately and the doctor feared his or her state board. Dr. Schaller can neither support not oppose the material. All patients are referred to their local family doctor or local Bariatric physician for help with weight. Dr. Schaller refers you to the New Hampshire Board of Medicine and that state's medical officials for any comment on these details. All states list the purpose of their state board and you are invited to read their position on their role in medicine and patient care. Dr. Schaller has no ability to interview the parties involved for the merits of their position or the truth of these quotes.