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August 24, 2005
Doctor Reprimanded By Board For ... Honesty

In what may become a classic case of political correctness run amuck, a medical board has reprimanded a doctor for diagnosing a patient as "fat", ordering him to take a sensitivity course as a remedial step:

Dr. Terry Bennett believes in being honest with his patients, but one woman was so offended about the way he spoke to her about her weight, she filed a complaint with the state Board of Medicine.

The New Hampshire state attorney general launched an investigation, asked Bennett to take a medical education course and admit he has made a mistake. ...

The case has some medical professionals concerned.

"We are really walking on thin ice when we have the legal system coming into a doctor's office and saying what we can or cannot do," said Dr. Mark Fendrick, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan.

I'd say that Dr. Fendrick's concerns come about four decades too late in general, but I agree with his point of view. Bennett did apologize to the patient in writing for offending her, but he points out that mild, politically-correct language offers too many excuses for people to disregard the medical advice. His bedside manner may be a bit too blunt for some patients, but that gets addressed by the market and shouldn't cause the medical board to reprimand him for his honesty. Getting the New Hampshire Attorney General involved is far more ominous, and far more ridiculous.

On the other hand, perhaps the doctors and government in New Hampshire have nothing better to do than to act as speech police. If so, the state's residents should cut funding for such efforts so that both waste less of the taxpayers' money.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 24, 2005 12:02 PM

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Cap'n Ed over at Captain's Quarters lays into the controversy over a doctor who was reprimanded for telling a 5-foot-7 woman she's fat. [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2005 3:40 PM

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Fortune 1000 Mapped I love maps. Should have gone to cartographer school. Doctor Reprimanded By Board For … Honesty So, when the truth hurts your feelings, by all means, sue! 39% Say Withdraw Immediately It’s 39% Withdraw/46% Finish t... [Read More]

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