Posted by: sharonseidel | February 8, 2013

When do we take responsibility for our choices?

I was outraged when listening to talk radio on the way home after my walk yesterday afternoon (yes, I know, talk radio – when did that happen?) to hear of a case here in NSW where a morbidly obese man has successfully sued his doctor for $350,000 because he has now been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, a byproduct of a lifestyle that has seen this man who stands 154cm tall amass a weight of 140 kilos. The judge said that the doctor had failed in his duty of care to the man because he did not make an appointment for him to get gastric lap band surgery.

I was horrified by this.  Since when did it become acceptable for us as independent free thinking adults to foist the responsibility and the blame for our life choices onto the shoulders of others?   Forget that at this man’s size, he most likely would not have been a viable candidate for the surgery due to the risk of heart failure under the anesthetic, let’s just take that out of the equation for the moment. What comes next, does the life long smoker sue their doctor on diagnosis of lung cancer for not buying them nicotine patches? Can the alcoholic sue the doctor for not driving them to rehab?  Such a case would be thrown out of court as being ridiculous due to adult’s right to make their own life choices with the attendant consequences.  The doctor had, by the accounts I heard on the radio, recommended the patient should lose weight but the man refused to diet, so what is the doctor expected to do, stalk him through the drive thru and pry the burgers out of his hand?

So much of what I have learnt on 12WBT has been about taking responsibility for my choices and to leave the excuses back in the dust where they belong. As Mish has said many times, we are grown ups now and we don’t do blamer/victim any more.  What a shame our court system buys into this crap of allowing people to blame others for the consequences of their life choices.  Let’s hope the doctor wins his appeal……


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