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Woman wins court bid to have gastric bypass

A mother of three is believed to have become the first person in the country to use a judicial review to force the NHS to give her a gastric bypass so she can lose weight, her solicitor has said.

Hazel Kent sought a judicial review, which often involves human rights issues and planning decisions, after she was refused the operation by her local PCT.

The 40 year old was denied the treatment despite her weight reaching nearly 16 stone.

The divorcee had already paid for one operation in September 2001 and saw her weight drop from 17 and a half stone to 10 stone, making her a size 12.

But two and a half years later the gastric band came loose and had to be removed to prevent Mrs Kent, of Bracknell, Berkshire, contracting blood poisoning.

Despite being given appetite-suppressing drugs, Mrs Kent’s weight increased after the gastric band was removed.

However, East Berkshire PCT refused to pay for a second, more permanent, gastric bypass, which cost between £8,000 and £15,000 each time.

She launched her own fight for the PCT to reverse its decision but when this failed Mrs Kent employed McCool Patterson Hemsi solicitors to take her claim to the High Court.

Mrs Kent has now won her battle after the PCT decided not to contest the judicial review in the High Court and fund her treatment.

She hopes to have the surgery by Christmas.

Mrs Kent’s solicitor, Oliver Wright, said: “I believe this is the first time a judicial review has been used for someone seeking a gastric bypass. There is no other recorded case of it.

“This operation is going to make Mrs Kent go back down to a size 12 and so she is not going to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes and all those things she will get if she continues as she is and which will all cost the NHS a fortune.

“The problem is that PCTs work on a yearly budget so they see the cost of such operations as £8,000 this year but they don’t see how much they could save in future years.”

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Are you fat? Or just a victim of society? 

Readers' comments (17)

  • Well how interesting. Must have been a very good solicitor! I just wonder when people will take responsability for there own actions, we are very fortunate to have the nhs in this country but go to other countries and you have to pay for basics like plasters, dressings anything which has been needed. I think it would make our country alot less wasteful if they had to pay for this, and would make them think twice about having treatment. Why not offer someone a years free membership in a gym, then if they have lost some weight at the end of the year give them another free year and so on? at least then they are also helping themself, and im sure this wouldnt cost as much.

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  • Yep, its great that you can just sue the PCT to get the operation to lose weight!! Why dont she just try eating less! this is a magic wand which she doesnt have to pay for!! especially when we have a cash strapped NHS! Those solicitors are laughing all the way to the bank! when will people take responsibilty for their well being? this woman should eat a healthy balanced diet, cut her portion size, and exercise everday for 40 minutes together with some weight reducing tablets. I am so angry that people like her use the law to sue the NHS just because she cannot control what she puts in her mouth!I am a health professional and am fed up with people thinking that we have a magic wand for all their problems!!

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  • So this means she wont get heart disease or type II diabetes ? Well Mr Oliver Wright I hope she doesn't sue you in the future when you cannot promise this!

    I agree with the sentiments of the other posters and people taking responsibility for their own actions, but unfortunately the situation is just going to get worse!

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  • There is a simple exercise for losing weight .............
    Shake your head from side to side ..................... everytime you are offered food.
    Obesity is self harm not a medical condition. How many Obese people are claiming DLA Mobility Component because their weight stops them being mobile ? It's scandalous that this woman has successfully sued the NHS for theatre time that a more deserving person, suffering from a genuine illness, could have,

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  • As an obese healthcare professional, awaiting consultation at our nearest banding centre, I monitor carefully what I eat and have followed a slimming club plan exactly, no cheating, for 6months, watching colleagues alongside me lose stones while my weight goes up on exactly same food, I object to some of the statements made. I swim at least once a week and walk regularly and yes I am aware of the health risks as dad is diabetic. Gym is offered locally but is only good if you do not work as it is at off-peak times, no good if you work 9 - 5, so my point is do not tar everyone with the same it's your own fault brush, some people really have issues.

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  • Sue, maybe, but those who do have serious medical issues causing weight problems are in the absolute minority. The majority are simply obese through a lifestyle choice. And the other posters have it right, when the hell are people going to start taking responsibility for their own actions?

    Very little real information is given about this case, but can't the question be asked WHY this womans weight ballooned again after the GB was removed and appetite supressants were prescribed? Was it simply due to the fact that she ate too much regardless of the supressants and did absolutely no excercise? My own suspicion says that would be the case.

    A more dangerous point to this story though, there is precedent now for trusts to be sued if individuals do not like the clinical judgements they are given. Regardless of little things like medical expertise or opinion, if you want something, you simply sue to get it. Absolutely despicable.

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  • Sue is right a few , very few people have issues with losing weight. The majority I am afraid is due to lack of excercise too much food. It not just about healthy eating, it is about porton control. Eat healthy but have lots of it you will gain weight. We are very fortunate to have an NHS to sue if we don't get what we want. How lucky we are. My mother desperately needed a knee replace but was told if you cannot pay for it you will end up in a wheel chair she was only 65years old. I paid for the knee replacement. Why could'nt this woman family do the same. I am afraid we live in a society where if we cannot have what we want, lets sue them take them to court. People must learn to take control and look after their health. They look after their house and car far better than their own health. But expect the NHS to fix it for them when it all goes wrong. What would she have done if we had no NHS. If she was in the same country like my mom she would have been told to fund it her self.

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  • Drinkers a couple of weeks ago, salad dodgers this week, I look forward to hapless RTA victims being subjected to the flaming torch and pitchfork mob shortly.....But seriously, if the PCT had a sound case they should have stuck to their guns with the legal case. This creates a dangerous precedent that will undoubtedly cause problems in the future. My understanding is that it is very possible for gastric band users to put weight on post-op and as this individual clearly didn't put weight on at that point, she was a valid case for repeat surgery. Anyway, who is to say that the band has not failed because of poor surgery or faulty materials? We can speculate all day about this - and despite our overstretched teams and workloads probably will - but at the end of the day its hardly massive news. Now where's that pork pie I put down around here...........

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  • Phil Dup

    Its a shame our rich lazy gutless Society has lost sight of some basic fundamental laws of science.

    ie: The First Law of Thermodynamics =
    Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.

    In other words anyone can eat AS MUCH as they want and wont put any weight on if they undertake enough activity to use MORE energy than they have consumed.

    4000 calories of food per day + 4001 calories of energy used = weightloss.

    4000 calories of food a day + 3999 calories of energy used = weightgain.

    4000 calories of food a day + 4000 calories of energy used = happiness.

    And no need to use cliched time consuming expensive methods of exercise such as Gyms - the whole damned world around us is a vast free gym!
    I've seen idiots using Lifts instead of stairs to go up to Gyms in high buildings - then in the Gym they 'powerwalk' on inclined walking machines !!! Aaaaghhh!!!

    I despair sometimes but I suppose we end up with the Gene Pool we deserve really.

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  • I cannot believe this story?? Has this dear woman not heard of excercise and not eating over the required calories for the amount of calories burned? Simple?

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  • Shake your head side to side.... that had me laughing. I am a nurse in Virginia, and I work in the operating room. I see gastric bypass procedures, always amazed at the amount of staples used in surgery....always amazed at what people can do to themselves. It is a high risk surgery.

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  • It's all very well people making smug and condescending comments in response to a case we and they know very little about, and which undoubtedly make said people feel better about themselves, however it strikes me as convenient to say the least, to completely ignore the huge swathe of other factors involved in people feeling and being able to choose differently in their behaviours and lives.

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  • Anonymous | 27-Sep-2010 11:27 am

    What???? No it isn't just convienient, just the simple truth.

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  • 'mike'
    "to the man with a hammer, everything is a nail"

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  • Anonymous | 29-Sep-2010 1:09 pm, in Japan, the nail that stands out gets hammered

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  • See, I can come out with pointless obscure sayings too!

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  • It must be fantastic to live such perfect lives as many of you appear to. I am used to all the comments from people like you who have obviously never lived from early childhood with a weight problem. Who have tried every diet and exercised 7 times a week for an hour a time at a local gym to try to help yourself. If it were so easy to simply go on a diet and go and exercise do you not think we would have succeeded with our goal before now? You people never seem to stop to think that perhaps people who become very obese do actually have an eating disorder. It is very easy for you all to condemn us for making ourselves like this and to an extent, you are right but do you honestly believe we WANT to live like this? I do agree that there are some people out there who don’t care and don’t give a thought to how much they are draining from the NHS with their eating and expect everyone to run around after them but for those of us who DO care and DO cry out for help to save us from getting to the stage that the burden on the NHS will be horrendous with heart pills, diabetic pill, pain relieving pills and surgery for awful things such as neuropathy then why should we not be helped before we get to that stage? Ah yes, you would rather we just went away UNTIL we got to that stage. When we have proved beyond reasonable doubt that we have done all we possibly can to help ourselves and still can’t shift the weight then what should happen to us? I’m guessing most of you would rather we crawled away and were left to die (while costing the NHS even more money in the process). Would you deny an alcoholic treatment for their SELF inflicted habit? Would you deny drug addicts Methadone and other such help because of their SELF inflicted habit? Knowing the kind of people who have written on here, you probably would. Bariatric surgery pays for itself in a very short amount of time and saves the NHS thousands per person in the long run. It extends the lives of people and they can have the knowledge that they will live a long and healthy life. Perhaps you feel that to give us this hope in our lives shouldn’t be given and we should rot in our own self pity but I’m sure that if you were to all get off your high horses and read up on the facts and the outcomes of this surgery then you might just realise it is doing society a favour by enabling people to lose weight, re-enter the work place and actually contribute towards the surgery they have been given with the taxes they will pay. But no, you would rather judge people and think you are all perfect in your own little lives. We are not animals, we are not all greedy pigs who sit on our back sides doing nothing to help ourselves and when you have 4 specialist reports from hospitals saying you should have this surgery to basically save you from becoming a HUGE burden on the NHS then who should you be listening to? A panel of people who wouldn’t know a weight issue if it hit them or people who specialise in the area and know better?

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