Unemployed man makes the state pay for his weight-reduce operation

An unemployed Argentinean who weights 312 kg has won a right to have the government pay an operation to reduce his weight.

Gustavo Prion Rebull, 32, has been trying to lose weight ever since he was 20 years old. However, none of the attempted measures produced any results for the suffering man, and his weight continued to increase rapidly.

Approximately three years ago Rebull decided to return his body to its decent shape by means of a surgical procedure: the superimposing of a gastro-intestinal anastomosis. This procedure is meant to reduce the stomach size in a patient, causing the food to past faster through the gastro-intestinal tract without too much of it getting absorbed into the bloodstream.

A similar surgery was conducted on the famous Argentinean soccer player Diego Maradona in 2003.

The case of Gustavo Rebull is further complicated by the fact that he is unemployed and has neither the personal finances nor the medical insurance to help cover the costs of the operation. With the gratuitous help from an advocate Jorge Mornarsterski, Rebull demanded the means to pay off his surgery by appealing his case to the World Health Organization, which had previously recognized obesity as a disease. He also made an appeal citing the Citizens’ Right to Health, guaranteed by the State of Argentina.

“Lack of income should not limit an access to the alternative medical treatment for a citizen suffering from obesity,” mentioned his appeal.

On August 10 Jose Luis Tresguerras, the judge of the Argentinean Federal Court dealing with civil and commercial issues, granted the victory to the appealing party. The court’s decision maintains that within a short period of time government should cover all the operation costs for Gustavo Rebull and help pay for whatever further treatment he may need as he recovers from the surgery in any of the country’s medical facilities.

This is not the first time that the Argentinean court makes a decision in favor of an obese citizen demanding financial help from insurance agencies and employers. But it is certainly the first time such a victory was granted a person without health insurance or even a job.


Translated by Natalia Vysotskaya

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Author`s name Alex Naumov