Obese British man in court fight for surgery

11th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday 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 in April, and Condliff took his fight Monday 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.

In April, 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 percent of adults classed as obese, according to a study released in December by the European Commission and the OECD. The European Union average is 14 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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