Obese patients should not be discriminated against for treatment

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday March 17, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday March 16, 2006.

Obese patients deserve the same standard of care as their non-obese counterparts, states an editorial in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Because of financial pressures, denial of joint-replacement surgery to patients with a body-mass index greater than 30 became a policy of UK National Health Service primary-care trusts there in November, 2005. In America obese people are finding similar attitudes among surgeons: some refuse to operate on them at all; some insist they lose weight first.

The Lancet comments: "Denying a service to a consumer may be an appropriate, if hard-nosed, business decision. But medicine is not just any business. Obese patients deserve care, just like their non-obese counterparts."

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Contact: The Lancet press office T) +44 (0) 207 424 4949/4942 pressofffice@lancet.com


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