The BBC reports on a case of size-discrimination in health care from across the pond. Gary Barton is a 6-foot 6-inch father of four who weighs in at about 266 pounds. The former steelworker is registered disabled, suffers from diabetes, arthritis and peripheral neuropathy, which means he has no feeling in his feet or lower legs and walks with a cane. He went for an MRI scan at his local Good Hope Hospital, where he was given headphones during the procedure. The two female radiologists didn’t turn off the intercom and this is what Barton heard:
“I got up onto the table on my own no problems but once I was up there they were getting me to move around a bit. I’m not too bad but I do suffer with arthritis so I wasn’t exactly jumping around,” he explained. “They gave me headphones to relax me but I think they forgot to turn the intercom off because I could still hear them chatting.”
“The nurse said, ‘Oooh, that was a bit of a struggle wasn’t it’, and the radiographer said, ‘Yeah, I thought he was going to break the bed’. I was stunned and immediately shouted, ‘I heard that’.”
Mr Barton said the embarrased radiographer apologised but her colleague “was in fits of laughter”.
He added: “It is outrageous and it isn’t what you expect from medical staff. I won’t lie, I wasn’t too hurt and upset and I can see the funny side of it but I was shocked by how unprofessional and vindictive the staff were. I’m not as big as they made out and even if I was, you expect a certain level of care from medical practitioners, not scorn. That hospital ought to be called No Hope, not Good Hope.”
Barton rightfully complained to the hospital and in a letter to him, the trust said it apologized “unreservedly” for the incident and that “The member of staff involved deeply regrets having made the comments and is fully aware that her behaviour was both totally inappropriate and professionally unacceptable.” The radiographer would have faced disciplinary proceedings but Barton insisted that no further action be taken against her.