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A rather frequent and deplorable attitude and practice of some health care workers when dealing with certain conditions, especially those that carry a stigma, in which, subconsciously or deliberately, sick people are given substandard or inadequate care because they are regarded as responsible for causing their own diseases. Persons with alcohol or substance abuse problems are frequent targets. An overt manifestation of victim-blaming was the widely publicized refusal of a cardiothoracic surgeon to perform a coronary artery bypass operation on a patient who was overweight and a compulsive cigarette smoker. Many lesser varieties are more subtle and covert but can nonetheless be hurtful to patients who seek help, rather than criticism, from their medical and nursing attendants.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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