Illiterate doctors?

I have been in DC this weekend, and I had some follow-up lab tests (my insurance is only on the East Coast) on Saturday morning. I got an email from my doctor with a summary, and all my labs were normal.

The problem was the text of the summary. Here it is, verbatim and [sic].

Good morninig Ms. Arnold,
Results were all good. Total cholesterol a bit high, but not high enough to require meds. Diet, exercise, weight loss. Take care.

If you are sensitive to swearing, stop reading now...

Has this douchebag even READ my fucking chart?!?

The last time I saw him, during my relapse and before I left DC, he wrote "anorexia nervosa" on my lab slips as my diagnosis--and rightly so. What the FUCK is he doing telling someone with anorexia to LOSE WEIGHT?!? And someone with an exercise addiction to, you know, EXERCISE MORE?

And does he not know anything about high cholesterol in anorexia? As far as he knows, I'm still underweight. He hasn't physically seen me since I've been weight restored.

Maybe it was a mistake and an oversight- doctors are, in fact, human. (I should know- I'm friends with several of 'em) But an oversight like this? Are you fucking kidding me?

He will be getting a letter from me, but later today. When I can use other "f" words like Fred and frankfurter.

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14 comments: said...

oh, Wow! That is horrible, CArrie!

One time I went to a therapist, told her about my eating disorder and about how my work environment was becoming unmanageable. Her idea for handling the work environment stress? A two week fast. Yes, she actually told me to fast for two weeks! And then she proceeded to give me all the instructions as to how to do so. Needless to say, I didn't go back. Not only that, but I called NEDA because she was on their list of therapists.

Haviland said...

Carrie, I hate that your doctor made this oversight...he obviously didn't take the time to read your chart and refresh his memory. This is such a problem for so many patients in recovery, and I'm glad you posted it. I hope, for your sake, you aren't internalizing it and causing it to push you to the gym...don't listen to your doctor! UGH. Whoever thought that would be sound advice to give?

Sarah at Journeying With Him said...

Write that letter. This is completely, completely outrageous!!!!

Anonymous said...

ARGH!! Why do they do this! I can definitely sympathize. I went to my doctor (who knows I have an e.d.) this summer, and he asked how things were going. I told him I was doing better overall, but I was having trouble maintaining my weight and limiting my exercise. His response?

"I don't see why it would hurt if you lost some weight through exercise!" REALLY. Even if I didn't have an e.d. it would have been a ridiculous comment because my health is good, my BMI is "normal" (though I recognize BMI is a screwed up standard), etc. My RD about lost it when I told her.

And THEN I find out that this doctor is on the Body Image & Health Task Force at my school (as a figurehead), as is my RD. She's going to take care of it. lol

It's always shocking to me that doctors are so flippant in regard to commenting on people's weight, AND THEN things like this happen all the time. Isn't rule #1 when dealing with someone with an e.d. to NOT mention weight?!

Anonymous said...

Carrie, would you consider sending this to First Do No Harm? It's really stunning how many doctors just sum up a health issue with "lose weight, you'll never get sick!"

Samantha C said...

That's so awful. What really hits me about it is the casual way he seems to toss it that's just standard advice for every patient who goes through his office, Lose Weight.

You should write that letter and post it on the blog. You should make it an open letter so you have something to point to as a demonstration for how obesity hysteria can be harmful to patients, especially ED sufferers, and so other people who've been hurt like this can add their voices to yours.

Susie said...

i can understand your anger and frustration completely. when i first tried to ask my psych (who'd known me for a couple of years already) for help with regards to my anorexia (before i was officially diagnosed), i suggested referal to a dietician, to break the ice on the subject but was told i was knowledgeable enough about food and nutrition - well no shit sherlock! that's the problem! So i refused to see her anymore and went to get my gp to refer me to the ED nurse who both took me seriously, thankfully.

Cathy, UK said...

This sort of thing is hugely distressing. Doctors need to learn that when recovering from anorexia nervosa, the healthy (logical) parts of the mind and the sick (anorexic) parts have constant battles with one another. The anorexic part 'wants' to hear that diet and exercise is 'good'.

A similar analogy was when I left the gym. Given my obsessive exercising/exercise dependence/addiction (whatever we call it...), alongside heart problems and osteoporosis, I knew it wasn't safe to return to the gym, even when weight recovered.

What did the gym do to try to entice me back? They sent me a free 4 week trial for their weight loss programme.


Unknown said...

Outrageous. An outrage. I'm enraged!!!!

And grateful that you are you, and you can rage on this and we can rage with you.

How many people out there are being slammed by this kind of gratuitous stupidity???

Carrie Arnold said...

Thank you for all of your support, and for sharing your experiences. I am personally dismayed by how frequent this medical douche-houndery and general ignorance is.

The stupid! It burns!

I followed my meal plan for today, and will post an update later. So take that, Ed!


I will definitely send this into "First Do No Harm."

jennifer said...

carrie, i know its not exactly the same thing, but i am in the midst of a dreadful struggle right now due to the fact that my "mentor", my refeeding person, the one person whom i trust and is feeding me the magic plate and supporting me completely through the A, has now statred to lose weight and she does NOT need to!!! it has taken away every single speck of safety and sense of being understood from me - i am living with my mentor and now i feel unable to even be near her comfortably or let her eat with me or eat in front of her or ANYTHING! it is terrifying and has the potential to utterly desteroy our relationship,noth therapeutic and very close friendship. I have no idea how to overcome this in my mind - i am desperate for help! jennifer.

Anonymous said...

Lately I have been losing confidence in doctors in general, for a whole litany of reasons (I could write a blog myself). And here's another example from the blogosphere: at Six Until Me the blogger posted recently that she had to go to an urgent care clinic and the idiot doctor kept repeating to her that something must be wrong because she was spilling sugar in her urine- even though she kept REPEATING to him that she was diabetic. Having gone to college alongside a bunch of pre-meds in my science classes, I have to say I am not totally shocked. OUtraged, but not shocked.

lostgirl said...

My jaw *dropped* when I read this!!! Insane!!!

(My cholestrol is high too from the e/d)

I have an e/d therapist that treats primarily only e/d and one day she suggested I join a gym or get out there with my iPod and take some walks in my neighborhood. I think her intent was to suggest exercise as a way of dealing with my extreme anxiety, but how stupid, stupid, stupid to tell an e/d person who has dealt with exercise addiction to join a gym. Needless to say, all I heard was "you are fat, get your butt moving." Oddly enough, it was my not-e/d specialist psychiatrist that was able to help me see around her comments and he convinced me to call her and straighten out what she *really* meant. She denied saying it... sigh... I get what she probably meant, and luckily I was in a place to let it go. But if it had been a couple years earlier it would have sent me straight back to starving and working out 3 times a day. She should have known better. Dont' these doctors *think* before opening their mouths (or pens.)

Good for you for not letting it get to you. Awesome.

IrishUp said...

May I simply add, in complete support,


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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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