Courtenay man who lost 250lbs says province should pay for skin removal

Courtenay man who lost 250lbs says province should pay for skin removal

Province will pay for stomach and chest but Brendan Abreu says many people end up gaining weight because they’re not happy with left over excess skin. 

Brendan Abreu was hitting the weights again Monday as he continues his remarkable physical transformation. 
“In almost five years it’s about 254 pounds (lost), now we’re at about 258 so we’re pushing into the 260s,” Abreu said. 
In 2009, he weighed over 500 pounds but wasn’t exactly sure how heavy he was because in Burns Lake where he lived at the time, there wasn’t a scale that could measure more than 500 pounds. 
“That was the (tipping) point, you know I’m on a 500-pound scale and it couldn’t even weigh me.” Abreu said. 
However, Abreu is now literally a shadow of his former self after beginning to eat properly and train in mixed martial arts. 
“Never I thought I’d be walking into a gym and speaking with the mixed martial arts instructor who’s Bill Fraser who now owns and runs The Academy of Martial Arts and Fitness” continued Abreu. “I’ve been a student of him for five years now and he’s been a huge success in my weight loss.” 
He’s also been working out regularly at Fitness Excellence in Courtenay where a poster on the wall tracks his progress for everyone to see. 
“Yeah when Brendan came here he was about 300 pounds and we’ve been able to shave off another additional 50 pounds off him.” Fitness Excellence co-owner Tony Senerchia said. 
Along with his success, however, has come another problem. Excess skin. Lots of it, another 50 pounds, in fact, that can be surgically removed, but Brit only pays for the stomach and chest. 
“There are more areas that I need done, like I need my legs done,” Abreu said.
“My arms are another component, my lower back and back section.” 
He says he’d have to pay about $40,000 to get the rest done and is left to fundraise to achieve it. But he says the province should help people like him who have lost the weight and will be much less of a financial burden on the system in the future. 
“A lot of individuals don’t have the money to do this so what’s happening is they’re gaining the weight again because they’re not happy with their body.” Abreu said. 
The BC Ministry of Health sent this statement to CHEK News late Monday afternoon. 

Medical procedures which are obtained, not to improve or restore function, but solely to alter appearance (cosmetic) are not generally eligible for coverage.  However, should a physician feel that skin removal is necessary for their patient (to prevent health complications such as bed sores, for example), they would be able to indicate that the surgery was medically necessary. In order for MSP to consider coverage, the specialist involved in a patient?s care must send medical information to MSP to provide details as to the nature of the condition and the medical necessity for surgery.

 Treatment decisions should be made in consultation between a patient and his or her physicians, as these professionals are most familiar with the patient’s health care and history and are in the best position to assess their medical needs and recommend appropriate treatment.”

Brendan Abreu says his physician in Courtenay moved away and he is currently looking for a replacement. 
You can read more about Brendan’s journey here.  

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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