A hospital in Texas, Citizens Medical Center, has said that they will no longer hire anyone who is overweight. That includes doctors, nurses, secretaries, any health staff. They defined that overweight for them means a body mass of over 35 kg/m2. What this means is that if you are a man 5’10” tall and weigh 250 pounds, you will not be hired by this institution, so do not even apply. They say “ We are not going to hire overweight people.”
The hospital representative said, “ Look, if you are going to come in and counsel people about health, you need to have a staff that is slim and fit.” Mr Caplan said that it is certainly the case that it is hard to have someone say, “Follow what I say, don’t do what I do.”
Mr Caplan mentioned that it is also the case that overweight staff sometimes requires special equipment and furniture. If that happens, it means extra cost involved for the hospital. Also it turns out that overweight people may be absent more because of health related problems.
Caplan made a good point when he said, “ I can think of a major problem, and that’s treating healthcare risks equally. If you want to go after overweight, then who is going to sit in the hospital parking lot and see who is speeding when they come in? Who is going to make sure that someone arriving on a motorcycle or a bicycle is wearing a helmet? Who is going to make sure that they are wearing their seat belts when they come to work? And to take this a bit further, in Texas, who is going to make sure that they are not riding horses at home because it is dangerous; or own a gun, which turns out to be a big health risk? There are a lot of other risky things besides weight that doctors or nurses or healthcare staff might do, and the question is, are we going to control that?”
I might add, what about those employees who smoke?
Now, you may think as I did, wow. But, did you know this is not illegal for them to do. It turns out that there are no laws against discrimination against overweight people except in Michigan. They have the right to hire who they want to and can discriminate if you are overweight.
I personally think that if I or any of my family members needed medical attention, I do not care if it is a skinny person or an overweight obese person taking care of us, as long as they are educated and know what to do. I would be grateful for anyone of any size, shape or color to save a life. Nurses have always been scarce and now they may turn down great qualified people because of their weight. I know some fantastic health care people who are the best, just overweight.
Our health care system has already fallen on The World Health Care Charts. Now its, getting to the point that you have to look a certain way. Do not get me wrong, being overweight is a health concern and we all should try to keep our weight in check. But is it right to disregard those who may be highly qualified to help care for others?
What do you think about this?