Man left so depressed by excess skin he tried to kill himself four times – refused operation to remove it and instead told he has body dysmorphic disorder
A man who lost an incredible 19 stone has been refused an NHS operation to remove his excess skin despite being so depressed with his appearance he’s tried to kill himself four times.
Paul Thorn, who went from a whopping 30 to 11 stone following a gastric bypass operation, has been refused the op and has instead been told his issues with his appearance are ‘all in his head’.
When Paul lost the weight following his operation on the NHS in 2007 he was initially happy with his appearance.
But the unsightly excess skin his dramatic weight loss left him with, caused his self-esteem to plummet to an all-time low, leaving him too embarrassed to even leave the house.
Paul paid for a tummy tuck operation at a private clinic in Poland and the NHS later funded further procedures to remove excess skin from his thighs and chest.
Paul hoped the NHS would fund a final operation to remove excess skin from his arms, bum and pubic area.
But despite numerous applications the NHS Aylesbury Vale, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have supported decisions made by the Individual Funding Request team, Clinical Triage Panel and Case Review Committee.
They recently wrote to Paul to confirm their support of the decision not to fund an operation to remove his remaining excess skin citing a previous diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder – an imagined defect in appearance – as one of their reasons.
But Paul said the issues with his appearance were far from imagined, his excess skin rubbed causing sores and bleeding. He said it was so bad he had to lift it to use the toilet and tuck it into his trousers when he got dressed.
He said he had become so depressed by his excess skin and his fight to have it removed he had tried to commit suicide on four occasions in the last year alone.
Paul said: “It’s not just the excess skin that’s made me depressed but the fight to have it removed.
“I’m obviously happy to have lost the weight but being left with all this excess skin makes me feel as though I’m still fat.
“I’m still so self-conscious about my body I’m too embarrassed to let people see it
“I’m too embarrassed to go swimming and I feel too embarrassed to meet a woman as I’m scared she’ll be repulsed by my body.
“I’m only 30 but I feel like I have the body of an elderly man.
“The excess skin chafes, I get sores and have to use creams to soothe them.
“It gets in the way when I want to go to the toilet, sometimes I lose my testicles within all the skin, it is that bad.”
In a letter to Paul following his appeal against their decision, the Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group said Paul was physically healthy and they therefore did not see fit to alter the previous decision not to fund the operation to remove his excess skin.
Despite Paul’s claims surgery to remove his excess skin would prevent him from wanting to take his own life they said an application for surgery based on preventing suicide was not one they could accept.
They further stated that they could not demonstrate further surgery would improve his mental health, wellbeing social integration or improved self-image.
The letter went on to cite a previous diagnosis of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and approved a referral for Paul to see a psychiatrist who specialises in BDD.
But Paul said he was unhappy with their decision as it didn’t take new evidence into consideration including a recent examination from psychiatrist Dr Jessica Gibson from Aylesbury Vale Mental Health Services, who said in her opinion he did not meet the criteria for BDD.
In a letter to Paul and his GP, Dr Gibson wrote: “Having examined Paul’s excess skin today, it is my opinion that Paul does not have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. There is clear evidence of excessive skin on his arms, hip and buttock regions and pubic area.
“These have a significant impact on his self-esteem, confidence and most importantly his function.
“He needs to lift the excess skin in the pubic region in order to urinate. He believes it will prevent him from having an intimate relationship with a woman.
“I therefore do not believe that there is an imagined defect in appearance.”
Paul said, he wishes he could afford the procedure himself but his confidence is so low he’s unable to find work and no longer knows where to turn.
He said: “They have cited my mental health and suicide attempts as a reason not to fund the operation but it is the excess skin and the fight to have it removed which is causing the depression.
“Having this excess skin has left me with no confidence, I feel too embarrassed to go out or meet anyone.
“If I had the skin removed I’d have the confidence to go out to work and maybe meet a girlfriend.
“Without it I could live my life again. I don’t want to lose my thirties like I have my twenties – fighting for this skin to be removed.
“If I was given funding for the operation I could go on to live a good life but until then I am suffering and will carry on suffering for the rest of my life.”
A spokesperson for Aylesbury Vale CCG said: “The CCG is aware of this case, but we do not discuss individual details. We can advise however, that aesthetic surgery for the removal of redundant skin after weight loss programmes or bariatric surgery will not normally be funded. ”
Psychiatrist Dr Jessica Gibson and the Aylesbury Vale Adult Mental Health Services were unavailable for comment.
Paul has set up a Facebook page calling for people to donate money for Paul to pay for the operation privately. To find out more visit: https://www.facebook.com/donateforremovalexcessskin/photos_stream