Nfld. & Labrador

Skin removal surgery not blocked: Sullivan

The health minister says MCP will cover surgery to remove excess skin from formerly obese patients as long as it's deemed medically necessary.
Andrew Murley says MCP turned down his request for skin removal surgery, even though a surgeon had recommended it. (CBC )

Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister says MCP will cover surgery to remove excess skin from formerly obese patients as long as it's deemed medically necessary, although a patient is skeptical about the promise.

"In terms of general policy on that area, that surgery is provided if it is determined by a surgeon to be medically necessary to do [so]," Susan Sullivan told CBC News.

"Suffice to say if a surgeon decides that a particular procedure is medically necessary, then it will happen."

But Gander resident Andrew Murley — who spoke out last month because MCP turned down his request to have folds of skin removed from his chest — said while he was encouraged by Sullivan's statement, he is also confused.

He said a surgeon approved of his request, but MCP turned him down anyway, telling him that his surgery would be for cosmetic reasons.

"It seems to be 100 per cent different than what I was told previously," he said, adding he has a letter from MCP telling him that the procedure is only covered when there are hormonal issues.

"It just conflicts with everything I've been told. It just seems like it can't possibly be true, because why would I be told one thing and the CBC is told something entirely different," said Murley, who lost almost 225 pounds through exercise and a changed diet.

"This is just their way of hopefully keeping things quiet and just let it hopefully blow over. I think it's just a quick answer to try and take care of what they consider a non-issue," he said.

After CBC News aired Murley's interview last month, Botwood resident Kevin Carter stepped forward to say he had had the same experience.

Carter lost more than 200 pounds through diet and exercise, but was told that MCP will not pay to remove the 12 pounds of excess skin that remain, even though he has had infections.

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