There were two recent articles I read that I found curiously co-related. One talked about the reasons why doctors often skip telling their obese patients that they had a condition that needed to be treated, just like any other. Another talked about why employees often feel the need to keep their ailments confidential.
The first story, which appeared in the Times, quoted a research study to say that only one in five obese patients were actually listed as ‘obese’ after their regular-check ups with medical practitioners. The story quotes Dr, Mark Jacobson, an adolescent-medicine specialist with the American Academy of Pediatrics as saying, “You don’t want to make people feel embarrassed and not want to come back to you. You want them to get treated.”
The second story, which I read in the TimesDaily’s online version was based on conversations with various people who had been diagnosed with serious illnesses. Many of them had felt it necessary to hold back the information from their employers, for as long as possible, for fear of discrimination or dismissal.
The common factor that links the stories is Intolerance – a prevalent malady in today’s impatient times. Doctors are wary of their patient’s intolerance for unpalatable advice in the first instance and employees are cagey in the second instance, fearing the intolerance of their bosses.
There are laws that protect people against discrimination due to gender, race and disability. Should there be a law against Intolerance as well, so that professionals can acquit themselves as they ought to without fearing loss of patronage and employees can ask for reasonable concessions warranted by their condition, without fear of reprisal?