2

votes

Should a medical group NOT hire obese health care providers?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 05, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Caplan's video was inspired by the decision of a Texas-based hospital, Citizens Medical Center, to refuse employment to obese healthcare providers (> 35 kg/m2). Caplan discussed the ethical implications of their ruling, and his analysis set off a firestorm of responses by readers.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/764581?src=mp&spon=38

Note: Medscape is free but requires registration - but has the most detailed arguments for and against

Great article - what do you think?

Related: http://theweek.com/article/index/226527/should-hospitals-ban-obese-employees

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/texas-hospital-bans-overweight-employees/

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:20 AM

Not to mention smoking...

Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:46 AM

But blood pressure and cholesterol medications are good for you,means you take care of yourself

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Yeah - this is a very slippery slope, just like that soda size limiting thing in NYC. First they'll ban obese employees, then they'll ban the red meat eaters, then they'll go for anyone still drinking full-fat milk (instead of soy, of course)...

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5 Answers

11
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 05, 2012
at 08:49 PM

If they expect their employees to "set an example" or something, then let's go all the way. If they ban obese employees, they should also ban any doctor/nurse/dietician/PT/what-have-you that is on any kind of medication for: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar control, heart disease, acid reflux, etc.

After all, hospitals should be concerned with making people well, and if PaleoHacks has shown us anything, it's that being thin does NOT automatically = well/healthy. Obesity is the easiest target because it's the only one we can see. (Well, there's also acne, rotting teeth, sallow skin and things like that, but obesity is the most obvious.)

And maybe then they'd also have to seriously look into hospital FOOD! D= <--horrified look

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 06, 2012
at 03:20 AM

Not to mention smoking...

Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546

(496)

on June 06, 2012
at 12:46 AM

But blood pressure and cholesterol medications are good for you,means you take care of yourself

8
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on June 05, 2012
at 09:30 PM

I think it would be more ethical to offer their employees access to gym memberships, nutrition counseling, smoking cessation programs, etc. Now that would really be making a statement about caring what kind of example they are showing to their clients! Guess they figure not hiring obese employees (and maybe being hit with a discrimination law suit) is cheaper than the above.

7
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on June 05, 2012
at 09:10 PM

People vary genetically. There are probably obese people who are healthy, and there are definitely thin people who are not. It's discrimination pure and simple. It would make sense to not hire smokers. It would make sense, if it were easy to test, to not hire people who ate a lot of sugar, though of course then they might also not hire people who ate a lot of saturated fat. These things are difficult, but not hiring obese people perpetuates the myth that overweight people are lazy gluttons (and of course thin people are not), a myth Gary Taubes has pretty much demolished, whatever you think of some of his other theories.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Yeah - this is a very slippery slope, just like that soda size limiting thing in NYC. First they'll ban obese employees, then they'll ban the red meat eaters, then they'll go for anyone still drinking full-fat milk (instead of soy, of course)...

6
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on June 06, 2012
at 12:31 AM

I am totally against not hiring people for bigotted reasons.

First, my problem is with how obesity is determined. The BMI was developed by Adolphe Quetelet, a 19th century Belgian for a study he was conducting. He never designed it to be a predictor of health or weight, and we in no way should be comparing 19th C people with 21st C people. The BMI does not take into account t different frames, muscle mass, or other health indicators. According to the BMI, many elite atheletes are overweight or obese.

http://boingboing.net/2012/02/28/the-problem-with-body-mass-ind.html

http://themiddlemanager.wordpress.com/2006/12/05/quick-hit-the-problem-with-bmi/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetelet_index

Second, poverty increases the risk of obesity. Keeping people out of high paying jobs because of their weight will NOT help them lose weight.

Third, weight has no bearing, none, on competence. I'd rather have a fat, competent health care worker than a ripped idiot.

And finally, many people are fat exactly because they follow the food pyramid, and then engage in dangerous, approved dieting. They are fat for doing EXACTLY what they are advised to do. Why on earth would we punish them further?

3
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 05, 2012
at 09:29 PM

This hospital's policy first saddened me, then infuriated me. I know I have lost out on jobs because of my weight, when, in fact, my weight has no effect on my ability to do my job. In 10 years, I missed on day of work due to illness and it was only because I got food poisoning from a work event!

When I seek out medical care, I am interested in the knowledge and ability of the provider. If a surgeon weighs 300 pounds, but has a steady hand and knows his stuff, he is my choice!

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