Singer Mary Lambert describes shock over how ‘unprepared’ doctor’s office was for ‘fat patient’

·4-min read
Mary Lambert describes fatphobic doctor’s office experience  (Getty Images for BuzzFeed)
Mary Lambert describes fatphobic doctor’s office experience (Getty Images for BuzzFeed)

Singer Mary Lambert has described her frustration over a recent fatphobic medical appointment, which saw the doctor’s office “unprepared” to attend to her as a “fat patient”.

The Grammy-nominee, 32, recounted her experience attempting to undergo an MRI at her local radiology office, Rayus Radiology in Massachusetts, for her injured knee, on social media this week, where she revealed that the doctor’s office did not have gowns or medical equipment available in her size.

“Just tried to get an MRI at @RAYUSradiology, and was shocked at how unprepared they were for a fat patient,” the singer wrote on Twitter earlier this month. “I changed into their biggest scrubs (a 2X), and had half of my butt exposed, only to have the MRI coil not fit around my knee. I was asked my weight three separate times.”

According to Lambert, during the appointment, the technician, who was “straight-sized,” attempted to assure her that the “coil is ‘tight on everyone, even me!’” which she noted was “intended to be kind, but it made me more furious thinking about why there wouldn’t be a system in place so this doesn’t happen??”

“Not sure if you are taking suggestions @RAYUSradiology, but ensuring that all locations carry sizes bigger than 2X for scrubs, and perhaps calling patients and asking their pants size (weight isn’t always an indicator for pant size) before their MRI would be really helpful,” the Same Love singer continued.

While recounting the experience on social media, Lambert said that the office’s unpreparedness to deal with a patient her size left her “crying so hard”. Lambert then acknowledged her disgust that others undergo similar experiences, writing: “It’s an experience that fat people are often used to feel shame about. People wonder why fat folks wait to/don’t seek medical treatment for themselves, and it’s experiences like this that reinforce the idea that there is something wrong or abnormal with our bodies.”

Speaking to Today, Lambert added that she eventually had to leave the appointment without getting the MRI images because she wasn’t able to fit “squeeze” her injured knee into the too-small medical equipment, as it was “too painful”.

“I finally had to be like I don’t think I could do this for a half hour,” she said.

On Instagram, where Lambert posted screenshots of her tweets, she addressed the situation and the “weight stigma in the medical world” further in an Instagram Live, where she explained that she wanted to share her experience because she wants medical providers to be aware how “isolating” it can be for patients of a certain size.

In the video, Lambert also noted that the imaging centre had reached out to her to resolve the issue, which she said could have been helped had they done a pre-screening prior to her appointment.

In the comments, the story prompted many of Lambert’s fans and followers to share their own similar experiences, with one person writing: “This is the EXACT reason I haven’t had a physical/pap/doctor appointment in eight years. I’m so sorry you felt less than and exposed. You deserve better. We deserve better!”

Another wrote: “I’m so sorry you experienced this. Thank you for speaking out. That is the only way any change will come.”

While speaking with Today, Lambert revealed that she’s ultimately glad the experience happened to her, as she has the platform to raise awareness of the stigma.

“It’s one of those things where I’m almost glad it happened to me and not somebody else because I just have so much awareness of this sh*t,” she said. “I feel like oh God, I’m glad this happened to me because here’s this really helpful example in the wild of how fat people are treated in medical settings.”

In a statement to the outlet, Rayus Radiology, which owns multiple medical offices across the US, said that it makes “great effort to ensure that all patients are treated courteously and receive the highest standard of patient care at all our locations”.

“Unfortunately, we recently received feedback from a patient who did not have an experience reflective of Rayus or what our patients should expect when coming to us for medical care,” the office said.

In the statement, the company added that it “immediately contacted the patient to offer support upon learning about the difficulties that occurred when attempting to carry out an MRI procedure”.

Lambert also confirmed to Today that the company reached out to her to discuss how it could have handled the situation better.

While Lambert was able to return to the office and have the MRI, she explained that she wants the experience to be a reminder that “fat people exist”.

“Regardless of whether or not fat people should lose weight or should be in the pursuit of a smaller body, fat people exist,” she said. “We will always be here. What people need to answer really is will they continue to gate-keep life-saving medical procedures from bodies that will always exist?”

The Independent has contacted Lambert and Rayus Radiology for comment.

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