Dear Ann Landers, You recently published a letter from a reader who was angry that four different physicians didn't tell her she could lower her blood pressure if she lost some weight. The woman wanted to know why her doctors failed to mention this to her. I am a physician who has been in practice for several years, and I would like to respond to her question.
Long ago, I learned that if a physician wants to drive a patient out of his (or her) office permanently, there are two magic sentences that will do it. One is: "I think you should see a psychiatrist." The other is: "You need to lose some weight." I have a file in my office with notes from fat former patients (and their fat relatives) cussing me out royally because I had the unmitigated gall to broach the subject of dropping some pounds.
I no longer tell my patients they need to lose weight. They already know it. I only hope they occasionally look in the mirror. -- Doctor in Bowling Green, Ky.
Dear Doctor, Sorry you have been a victim of the "kill the messenger" syndrome. I hope it will not discourage you and other physicians from telling your patients what they need to hear. To do otherwise would be abdicating your responsibility. Perhaps instead of lecturing, a better approach might be to give (or mail) the patient a diet and say, "I hope this will help you have a healthier and happier life."
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!
Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:
Dear Readers, , My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.