For those who’ve never seen Fox’s execrable game show, Moment of Truth, it goes like this: the contestant, who’s hooked up to a polygraph machine, is asked a series of embarrassing questions. The more honest the answers, the more money the contestant wins.
Check out this abridged version of an episode featuring Aaron Dunbar, an Emergency Medical Technician. Two of the questions — asked by an actual fat person, presumably to increase Aaron’s discomfort in answering — are “Do you think fat people are simply weak?” and “Are you repulsed by fat people?” Aaron’s answer to both is “Yes,” followed by the robotic female voice representing the polygraph: “True.”
This might be the man who shows up to save your life in an emergency — a man who is repulsed by fat people and believes they are weak. And he’s not alone. I’ve personally had a conversation with an EMT who expressed similar sentiments — having to help very fat people was disgusting to him, and he found himself feeling anger toward them for “letting themselves get that way.” A 2001 study by Kelly Brownell and Rebecca Puhl found that 24% of nurses admit to being “repulsed” by fat patients. Last summer, paramedics in Gloucester, England, joked as a 245-pound woman died in her home, because they couldn’t figure out how to move her to the hospital.
For all the empty talk about being concerned for our health, there sure are a lot of medical professionals out there who simply don’t want to do their jobs when it comes to fat patients.