How anti-fat bias in health care endangers lives

When Ellen Maud Bennett died a year ago, her obituary published in the local newspaper gained national media attention in Canada, though she wasn’t a celebrity.

Bennett’s obituary revealed she died from cancer days after finally being diagnosed — after years of seeking help.

Her diagnosis came so late, beyond the point where treatments were possible, because the 64-year-old woman was repeatedly told her health problems were caused by her weight — or more specifically, by the amount of fat on her body.

She died because of bad assumptions that caused poor quality care. And she used her own obituary to share her dying wish:

“Ellen’s dying wish was that women of size make her death matter by advocating strongly for their health and not accepting that fat is the only relevant health issue.”

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