Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Philly cardiologist talks of what it was like being overweight in medicine

Joseph Majdan waited until he was thin to vent his frustration at fellow doctors who made his life miserable when he was fat.

Philly cardiologist talks of what it was like being overweight in medicine

It is perhaps telling that Joseph Majdan waited until he was thin to vent his frustration at fellow doctors who made his life miserable when he was fat.

The cardiologist and assistant professor will say only that the poignant essay he has written for the Annals of Internal Medicine - "Memoirs of an Obese Physician" - was a long time coming.

"I've always thought about writing this article because it haunted me and it was a story that I think had to be told," he said last week in his office at Jefferson Medical College, where he was surrounded by pictures of his family, his dogs and of him when he looked twice as big as many of his friends. He said a combination of improved self-esteem and encouragement from his nutritionist led him to finally finish the article he started 10 years ago.

In his essay, he recounted a series of insensitive, even abusive, comments over the years from colleagues who seemed to have little understanding of obesity or compassion for those who struggle with it.

During Majdan's residency, a classmate at another hospital called to ask whether she could borrow his white intern pants to project slides onto during a skit. She said she thought it would be "hilarious." He thought it "insensitive and callous."

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Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
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