He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Patient

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Patient

For many months dental stories in the press have been restricted to the NHS access crisis, with occasional analysis of the UDA contract, the arrival of dental deserts, and frequent references to DIY dentistry. At last, the popular press has found a new dental story.

Step forward David Bottomley, a 65-year-old retired pub landlord, from Penderyn who needed two crowns replacing. He had been a regular patient for a decade at a practice in Glynneath, and having made his appointment and after the two hour trip involving two busses, to travel from his home to get there, what happened next left him “gobsmacked.”

He had just sat down, and begun updating his medical history, when he was called to reception.  He says that he was told, ’Unfortunately sir you’re too big and our chairs will not be able to cope with your weight’.

Mr Bottomley said, "I found it insulting. I did become angry and I did raise my voice, but I wasn’t abusive and I didn’t swear, but the dentist came out and told me I needed to leave and I’d be struck off the list.” He continued, “It’s not like they didn’t know me. I’ve been this weight for 15 or 20 years and I’ve been going to the same dentist for ten years."

A spokesman for Glynneath Dental Lounge said: "While we cannot comment on Mr Bottomley’s case in detail, we can offer assurances that we acted in line with agreed health and safety guidance. Chairs used to treat patients have weight limits, which means it would be unsafe to use them to provide dental care to any patient who is over this limit.” The practice added that patients deemed too heavy for the chair are directed to the Swansea Bay community bariatric dental service instead. The practice said it had, "acted in line with health and safety guidance".

Mr Bottomley’s story was not restricted to local media, but featured in the Sun, the Scottish Sun, the Star, the Mirror, the Mail, Wales online, Metro UK, the Coventry Telegraph, and ITVX, amongst others. The headlines were variations on a theme of, “too fat for the chair.”

Also quoted were the BDA who explained that, "This can be a very difficult topic to approach with patients.” They also explained that, "It is important that patients understand they may have to be referred for their own safety. It may be difficult to move a patient in a medical emergency or get them out the building quickly safely should there be an emergency. Not least, should the chair break and the patient suffers an injury.”

Hopefully Mr Bottomley will not have to wait too long to be seen by the Swansea Bay CDS. In the meantime, NHS managers and ministers will be relieved to be out of the news for a while.

Keith Hayes
He ain't heavy
Bariatric patients’ treatment risks
“Having a dental chair that is safe and comfortable for patients is important. This helps the patient to relax whilst receiving dental treatment. The dental chairs in most clinics are designed for people who weigh up to 135kg (21 and a half stone). Some clinics in different areas of Highland now have new chairs which are comfortable and safe for patients of all shapes and sizes.
Since your last visit our dental chair has been replaced and is safe for patients up to a weight of 135kg (21 and a half stone).
Please inform us if you think you exceed this weight, as it is important that your dentist refers you to a clinic with a suitable chair.
We may contact your doctor to gather some information about your general health to help us provide care for you. Your doctor may arrange an assessment appointment with you. Your dignity is important to us and you will be treated with respect at all times.
The first appointment you have with us is for assessment


You need to be logged in to leave comments.

Please do not re-register if you have forgotten your details,
follow the links above to recover your password &/or username.
If you cannot access your email account, please contact us.

Mastodon Mastodon