Obese man in court for surgery

A British man weighing 139 kilograms launched a court appeal against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

Tom Condliff, 62, says he needs stomach surgery to save his life, but the state-run National Health Service refuses to fund a laparoscopic gastric bypass operation.

The High Court refused to quash the decision, and Condliff took his fight to the Court of Appeal, in what is expected to be a two day hearing.

The former policeman became obese due to drugs he takes to treat long term diabetes. He takes 28 different drugs and uses breathing masks and inhalers.

Court rules in favour of NHS

The court heard that his body mass index, at more than 40, was below the threshold of 50 at which his local health authority in Staffordshire, central England, would pay for surgery.

In that hearing, the judge said Condliff had tried non-surgical ways to lose weight but had failed, adding that everyone agreed surgery was clinically appropriate for him.

However, the judge ruled the NHS had not breached the article of the European Convention on Human Rights under which Condliff had lodged his claim.

Britain has the highest obesity level in Europe, with 24.5% of adults classed as obese, according to a study released by the European Commission and the OECD. The European Union average is 14%.

(Sapa, July 2011)

Read more:

Body Max index

Gastric bypass operation

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