Outpatient Surgery Magazine Article

There is no doubt that weight bias and stigma is prevalent in today’s society, but unfortunately, one of the areas where this prevalence exists the most is the healthcare setting.

Below, you will see an example of an extremely biased and stigmatizing article written by a doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Department of Orthopedic Surgery:

 XXL Patients – Signs that you should worry about performing surgery on the supersized
John Kelly, IV, MD

Our patients are getting bigger and bigger. Not only is the obesity epidemic to blame, but the abundance of food, protein shakes and the steroid craze are generating larger and larger patients. I worry when I do surgery on these behemoths because complications increase and exposures are truly more difficult.

UPDATE 10/26/11: Dr. Kelly Issues a Direct Apology to the OAC

Mr. Nadglowski,

I am asking for forgiveness for a recent column I wrote. I confess I am frustrated by the obesity epidemic and the risks I see my patients undergo. I did not use a constructive vehicle to affect change and instead used oneliners my comedian colleagues have used for decades. I was affected by obesity once – in college. I played football was not happy with the way I looked. I share the frustrations of many and used my medical knowledge (and Grace) to lose the weight. Ironically I see patients no one else will see and actually have more empathy than most. I made a lazy decision to use recycled lines in order to meet my deadline. I know not to judge and that this problem will be best rectified with compassion and kindness. I never meant to hurt anyone and I will endeavor to let other comedians learn of the potential harmful effects their words can have.

If you have other suggestions as how I can undue some of the hurt I have caused, please feel free to let me know.

Respectfully Yours,
John D. Kelly IV, MD

UPDATE 10/24/11:The OAC has received a request from the publisher to remove the full article PDF from our Web site. Please see the below quotes for more information from the offensive and stigmatizing article.


- The author uses obesity as the target for more than 25 derogatory and insulting jokes, such as:

  • “There is a comma in your patient’s body weight.”
  • “The radio skips when your patient walks into the room.”
  • “IV access requires a priest.”
  • “The OR transporter demands danger pay.”
  • “Your patient has more chins than a Chinese phonebook.”

- The author clearly has a bias toward individuals affected by obesity.

- The author refers to individuals affected by obesity as “behemoths.”

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