Tuesday, August 30, 2005

N.H. Doctor in Hot Seat Again Over Remarks=Witch Hunt

State Investigates N.H. Doctor Again, Now Over Accusations He Made Racial Remark to Obese Woman
The state is investigating a doctor accused of telling a patient she was so obese she might only be attractive to black men and advising another to shoot herself following brain surgery.
"Let's face it, if your husband were to die tomorrow, who would want you?" the state Board of Medicine says Dr. Terry Bennett told the overweight patient in June 2004.
"Well, men might want you, but not the types you want to want you. Might even be a black guy," it quoted him as saying, based on the woman's complaint.The board said it also is taking a second look at a 2001 allegation deemed unfounded at the time that Bennett told a woman recovering from brain surgery to buy a pistol and shoot herself to end her suffering.
Bennett made national news last week when the complaint from the obese woman became public without any mention of the racial comment. But Senior Assistant Attorney General Richard Head, who leads the state Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, said Tuesday the woman complained about the racial remark, not about being lectured.
In a telephone interview Tuesday from Rochester, Bennett denied any wrongdoing and defended his message to her, saying he has read polls that say black men prefer overweight women.
Bennett added that he is angry the board is reconsidering the 2001 complaint.
"That patient is currently in a nursing home completely demented, tied to a chair drooling on herself and doesn't recognize anybody," said Bennett, 67. "She was in pretty nearly that condition at the time she filed that complaint."
Bennett's lawyer, Charles Douglas, said his client is being attacked by the board, which, by its own rules, does not discipline doctors for bedside manner.
"If a patient does not like the message, go to another doctor," Douglas said.


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