The Coalition against Morbid Obesity deplores that Ontario, and not Quebec patients benefit from bariatric surgeries in Quebec

    MONTREAL, Feb. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Jennifer Schultz and Josée Roy,
cofounders of the Coalition against Morbid Obesity (,
reacted strongly to the news that an agreement is about to be concluded
between Ontario Health and an eminent Montreal bariatric surgeon. The
agreement authorizes morbidly obese persons from Ontario to be operated in a
Montreal private clinic with the Ontario government covering the cost of those
surgeries. Meanwhile in Quebec, some 3,500 patients are on a waiting list
awaiting a bariatric surgery. "Why are Ontarians, and not Quebecers,
benefitting from the expertise of our bariatric surgeons?", said Josée Roy.

    The MSSS justification makes no sense

    To justify its inaction in regards to bariatric surgery, the Quebec
Health and Social Services department (Ministère de la Santé et des Services
sociaux du Québec - MSSS) argues there are not enough bariatric surgeons. "How
do you then explain that a Quebec-based surgeon has the time to operate
Ontarians? Obviously, the twenty some bariatric surgeons in Quebec are not
allowed sufficient OR time to practice full-time", declared Jennifer Schultz.
In 2007, the MSSS seriously considered to include bariatric surgery to the
list of surgeries to be performed in private clinics. Moreover, it has been
promising to submit an action plan on bariatric surgery for the past two

    Double standards

    "We will repeat it as many times as we need to: morbid obesity is a
disease. Bariatric surgery is the only efficient treatment of morbid obesity.
It is a matter of life and death", added Jennifer Schultz. "Why can't morbidly
obese people have access to a government-funded that will save their lives?
Even transsexuals will now be able to get their sex change operations in a
private clinic setting and fully reimbursed by the RAMQ. For morbidly obese
people, it seems that living in Quebec is the worst thing that can happen to
them. We really are left on our own. This situation is unfair, unjustified and
unacceptable", concluded Mrs. Schultz.

    Morbid obesity

    Morbid obesity is the starting point for different types of diseases that
are often fatal, such as arterial hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, or heart
disease. An individual's obesity level can be evaluated by means of the body
mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing the person's weight by his
or her height squared (Kg/m2). Morbid obesity corresponds to a BMI higher than
or equal to 40, or higher than or equal to 35 if accompanied by comorbidities.

    Bariatric surgery

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), bariatric surgery is
considered to be the only effective treatment for morbid obesity. Bariatric
surgery includes a series of techniques that are based on two intervention
principles: gastric bypass (reduced volume) and intestinal malabsorption
(derivation). In Québec in 2005, the Agence d'évaluation des technologies et
des modes d'intervention en santé (AETMIS) tabled a report entitled "Surgical
Treatment of Morbid Obesity - Update", which reviews all of the bariatric
surgery techniques. The AETMIS recommended establishing an action plan in
Québec to define the need for bariatric surgery and devise ways to respond to

    About the Coalition against Morbid Obesity

    Created in February 2007, the Coalition against Morbid Obesity is a
non-profit, Québec-based organization that draws on the strength of
association to increase awareness of the issue of morbid obesity and to foster
better access to bariatric surgery in Québec. Its signature, "Weight that
kills", expresses the dramatic situation that is experienced by people who are
suffering from morbid obesity. As its name indicates, this disease leads to a
faster death for those who are afflicted. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Hains, Cell Phone: (514) 776-9577

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