Is It Really That Funny

KevinMD Suggests “You Feel Sorry for Doctors Treating Obesity”

Update: Within three hours of this publication, KevinMD removed the offensive video and claimed “success” in sparking conversation. Sheesh! Thanks to all who spoke up and especially the Obesity Action Coalition.

Kevin Pho promotes himself as “social media’s leading physician voice” and his website, KevinMD.com, is recognized as a thoughtful source for perspective from intelligent, front-line primary care providers. So when KevinMD.com promoted an extraordinarily offensive video, titled “Ms. Fatty,” readers were surprised at the lapse in judgement from a source they had previously respected.

The video depicts a patient with obesity as ignorant of her condition, gorging herself on fast food, and “choosing to gain weight.” The physician who produced the video, Waqas Khan, seems to be enjoying the notoriety he is creating for himself, declaring through his Facebook page that his practice has “plenty of patients who deserve our care.”

Numerous comments expressed dismay that a mainstream source like KevinMD.com would post such hateful material. Nanette Adams, a licensed professional counselor, echoed the sentiments of many others when she said:

How is this helpful? It’s not. It’s shaming, and if you knew anything about patients affected by obesity, you’d realize how difficult it is for them to receive appropriate care. It’s intimidating for patients to even go to the doctor because they’ve been treated unfairly and spoken to like this for so long. Shame on you, KevinMD.com.

We, too are dismayed. Even if you call it satire, mocking people living with a chronic condition is incredibly disrespectful, unprofessional, and destructive. It promotes an ugly side of humanity that has no place in healthcare.

We don’t hold out much hope for Waqas Khan, but we do expect better from Kevin Pho and KevinMD.com. Seriously — what in the world do they mean by suggesting that we should feel sorry for doctors who treat obesity?

Click here to see what KevinMD.com has posted and if you are equally troubled by this hateful material we encourage you to write respectfully with your concerns to contact@kevinMD.com. The Obesity Action Coalition has provided some background and tips for expressing your concern here.

And finally, if you want more perspective on the problem this video exposes, click here for a thoughtful essay by Dr Anastasia Boulais.

Not Funny, photograph © Taro Taylor / flickr

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July 24, 2015

4 Responses to “KevinMD Suggests “You Feel Sorry for Doctors Treating Obesity””

  1. July 24, 2015 at 10:02 am, Leah Whigham said:

    Ted, glad to see the video was removed. Thanks to OAC for prompting people to act (that is how I heard about it) and thanks to you and many others for thoughtful comments condemning the video on the site yesterday.

  2. July 25, 2015 at 6:08 am, Ted said:

    Thanks, Leah, for adding your voice to the conversation.

  3. July 25, 2015 at 9:43 pm, Rose Fox said:

    I am glad that video was taken down. I was morbidly obese and had to have Bariatric Surgery, Roux en Y. It is not easy to accept that you need help, and I for some time just ignored the prroblem, but became a bit of a recluse. It was only when I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer and had to lose weight to have further surgery that accepted that I needed help. People who are obese need encouragement and kindness, not huliliation and ridicule.

  4. July 26, 2015 at 4:16 am, Ted said:

    You are right, Rose. Thanks for speaking up.