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Two Women Offered Obesity Surgery In Korea

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Two Women Offered Obesity Surgery In Korea

Wellington, Dec 14 NZPA - Two New Zealand women, who are fighting for better access to anti-obesity surgery, have been offered free access to a "life saving" procedure in South Korea.

Lynda Sim, aged 44, and Jasmin Sciascia, aged 25, were denied bariatric surgery -- which reduces the stomach's size -- in New Zealand because they lived in a District Health Board (DHB) area which did not fund the surgery.

Mrs Sim lives in the Capital Coast and Health DHB area and Ms Sciascia in the Whanganui DHB (WDHB) area.

This week the South Korean Government approached both women, offering to pay travel and surgical costs to have the surgery in South Korea.

Wanganui surgeon Clive Solomon, who has supported the women's cause, said that while the offer to have surgery in South Korea was a "nice one", travelling to a foreign country was not the solution.

"These people are really unwell. To go to the other end of the world to have complicated surgery... I would not recommend it, and follow-up for this type of surgery is just as important as the surgery itself," Mr Solomon said.

The surgery should instead be offered in New Zealand, he said.

"We are not a third-world country -- what is wrong with New Zealand that we can't provide basic health care for our own people?"

Both women are assessing the Korean offer, which would involve at least six weeks recovery time in Korea.

"This is an amazing and very generous offer from Korea and while it may solve my immediate problem, it doesn't change the need for a full review of access to services in New Zealand," Mrs Sim said.

Both woman had already received publicity for their fight to have the surgery in New Zealand with Whanganui National MP Chester Borrows campaigning for the WDHB to pay for Ms Sciascia's surgery.

Bariatric surgery costs between $17,000 and $35,000 and is publicly funded in some parts of New Zealand, but not in others.

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