Ida Davidson admits she could lose a few pounds. But when she recently went looking for a new primary care physician, she was stunned to be turned away because of her size.
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"She was telling me that she couldn't care for me because I was over 200 pounds," Davidson told WCVB News in Boston. "I've never heard of anything like that. I thought doctors were there to help you."
At about 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighing 246 pounds, Davidson is considered clinically obese.
ABC's John Schriffen said that Dr. Helen Carter from Worcester, Massachusettes is standing by her decision to refuse Davidson. The doctor says her office can no longer take on obese patients after members of her staff were repeatedly injured working with overweight people.
Carter may be within her rights according to the American Medical Association's ethical guidelines:
"Both patients and physicians should be able to exercise freedom in choosing with whom to enter into a patient-physician relationship."
But medical ethicist Arthur Caplan said just because the doctor's action was within her legal rights, it doesn't make it right.
"I think you have a duty to try and work with people no matter what their health issues are," said Caplan. "Simply saying I'm not gonna take someone who's obese is I think not the way to approach the whole challenge of obesity, either for that person or for any American."
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