Dr. Peter Attia thinks about his former patient often, the woman who came to him in the emergency room at Johns Hopkins Hospital one night seven years ago.
She was obese and suffering from a severe complication of Type 2 diabetes, a foot ulcer, which required an urgent amputation. At the time, Dr. Attia admits, he silently judged her. If she had only taken better care of her health, maybe exercised more and eaten less, he thought to himself, this never would have happened to her.
But a few months ago, in a TED talk, Dr. Attia stepped onto a stage and offered a few words to his former patient: “I hope you can forgive me.”
WHAT THE FUCK? Why should she forgive you? You’re just another judgmental asshole in a nice long line of judgmental assholes. Is it really such a stain on your self-image that someone might not worship you as the all-perfect person you want to be? Why should she spend any pity or compassion on you?
“As a doctor, I delivered the best clinical care I could, but as a human being, I let you down,” Dr. Attia, his voice breaking, said in his talk. “You didn’t need my judgment and my contempt. You needed my empathy and compassion.”
Wow. Just … wow. He thinks his “judgment and contempt” did not prevent him from delivering the best clinical care? Or is he admitting that the “best clinical care I could” might not be the best clinical care?
I still don’t see why he thinks an apology from just one doctor might MATTER at this point. Maybe it would. Maybe pigs would fly, I don’t know.
Apparently Attia’s now looking into research on whether “the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around“. Interesting. Did he read some genetic research on type 2 diabetes?
Dr. Attia’s insight was informed, in part, by the startling discovery a few years ago that despite paying close attention to his diet and exercising frequently, often for hours at a time, he had developed metabolic syndrome, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. He had made all the right lifestyle choices, he thought, and yet he was overweight and on a fast track toward obesity and diabetes.
Oh for fuck’s sake. Dr Perfect is SHOCKED, SHOCKED to discover his body is not 100% under his control at all times. OMG, this is a REVELATION.
NY Times article on Dr Attia, where I pulled most of the quotes from.
Dr Attia’s TED talk.