Mum, 25, is denied urgent surgery to end her constant pain – because she smokes06/27/2019
A mum-of-two claims an 'urgent' operation she was due to have in two weeks has been cancelled – because she smokes.
Bethany Glass was due to have her gall bladder removed on July 13 after doctors discovered three large gallstones which have become infected and are causing her immense pain.
The 25-year-old went for her pre-operation assessment on Wednesday at the Spire Hospital in Anlaby, East Yorkshire, reports Hull Live.
There Miss Glass was told by NHS doctors they cannot perform the operation until she has been smoke-free for six months.
East Riding clinical commissioning group will not operate on patients who smoke or are obese because they say they are at increased risk of suffering complications during or after their operation.
However, Miss Glass says her care in A&E during the next six months while she tries to stop smoking will cost the NHS more money in the long-run.
She said: "If it was a smoking-related illness I'd get it because I'd caused it myself, but this is gallstones, this is not caused by smoking, it's unrelated and it's not like I've caused it myself.
"I'm fuming about the whole situation.
"I was at my pre-op and they got me in the room and said 'I'm sorry but we can’t do your operation' and he said 'because you're a smoker, the East Riding no longer fund operations for smokers or overweight people.
"I've been waiting 18 weeks now for this. It’s all swollen and bruised and infected. It's at risk of the infection spreading to my pancreas which is why I need my gallbladder removing.
"They said they [my doctor] should never have referred me without telling me, if they told me then I'd be a lot closer to the six months not smoking by now.
"But the doctor knew I smoked and the consultant even put it on the form – no one told me until the pre-op.
"Everyone needs to know that if they are ill, unless it’s killing you, you can’t have it done.
Ms Glass, who has a six-year-old son and a four-month-old-daughter said during a flare up the pain takes her breath away and feels like she's having like a heart attack.
She says she does not think she can cope waiting another six months before she can even be referred again.
She said: "If I get a flare up again I'll I’ll end up in A&E, away from my young children over something that could of been resolved in a day.
"It will cost the NHS more money than what it would if they just did the operation. All because they won't spend money on a smoker.
"I think it needs to become public knowledge as people need to be aware that if they smoke or are overweight they not entitled to medical care, regardless to how fit they are for the operation, they wouldn’t be able to have it unless they pay private."
Ms Glass, who has smoked since she was 17, said she is willing to try to stop smoking – because she has no other choice.
She said: "I’m going to have to try to stop, but it's not that easy, especially when you have two children.
"I don't know what else I can do. I've even messaged my MP. This needs raising, it's discrimination, it's saying 'if you smoke or you’re overweight we won’t help you.' It’s wrong.
"It's only the East Riding, its not UK wide. If I lived in Hull I’d have got the operation, it's a postcode lottery."
A spokesperson for East Riding CCG said: "We know patients who smoke or are obese are at increased risk of suffering complications during or after their operation.
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"In October 2017, the CCG introduced Health Optimisation to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents.
"For our patients who smoke or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 or higher, we provide support for a six-month period to help them quit smoking or lose weight before any non-urgent surgery.
"This helps to make sure our patients are in the best possible health when they go for their operation and able to recover better afterwards.
"After the six month period, or sooner, if they stop smoking or lose the required weight, patients are eligible for referral to surgery."
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