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28 October 2014
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  Inside Out - West Midlands: Monday January 26, 2004


Chris Meddings
Chris Meddings has shed 27 stone (171.5 kg) since his op

A West Midlands surgeon has pioneered a revolutionary new treatment to cure obesity.

Inside Out meets Paul Super and his grateful patients.

At 32 stones (203.2 kgs), Gary Cartwright from Tamworth has been housebound for six months. This has caused him major depression.

Antidepressants have helped, but he admits that in his darker moments, he has not only contemplated suicide but attempted it.

Gary says, "I’m not living, I’m existing."

Weight gain

Gary Cartwright
Gary's weight has driven him to attempt suicide

In Gary's younger, leaner days he was a successful inventor. But when his business hit the rocks, Gary hit the bottle.

"I was drinking probably six bottles of whiskey a day and the weight piled on. I thought once I stopped drinking the weight would fall off, but it didn’t."

Surgery is Gary’s last chance. He says, "I will be dead in three years without this operation."


In November 2003, Gary underwent Paul Super’s operation at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham. The Bilio Pancreatic Diversion involves removing much of his stomach and altering his digestion system so that food that Gary does eat is not absorbed properly. The result is that a patient can lose up to half their body weight in as little as 18 months.

Surgeon Paul Super claims that the operation is 95% likely to succeed.

He says, "I think people who have got to this sort of size in life, who have tried every available means of losing weight, should have the opportunity to have an operation which is their only option.

"Sadly, this is not available to all people who live in the UK."

Two months on from his operation, Gary has lost almost four stone (25.4 kgs).

Living proof

Obesity Facts

Globally, there are over one billion overweight adults.

300 million of these are clinically obese.

A BMI of over 30 is defined as obese.

Obesity affects blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.

Source: World Health Organization

Chris Medding (pictured at the top of page), a former patient is living proof that the Bilio Pancreatic Diversion can be successful.

Before he was operated on by Paul in October 2002, he tipped the scales at 60 stone (381 kg).

Chris says, "A lot of it started with bullying at school. I got bullied so I got depressed and then I comfort ate.

"When you finally break that comfort eating, you're too far gone."

Chris spent almost two years in his bedroom, leaving it only to visit the bathroom. He eventually had to be winched out of the first floor window by the fire service to be taken to hospital. This process took four hours and eight firemen.

Chris now weighs 33 stone (209.5 kg). He says, "A lot of people probably think, 'he's still overweight, why is he so happy.'"

"But just being able to walk out into the garden is a complete and utter life change."

Second chance

Teena Hill, another former patient of Paul’s says the operation has given her a second chance in life.

Teena Hill before and after her surgery
Teena Hill before (left) and after (right) her surgery

Paul undertook the Bilio Pancreatic Diversion on Teena in March 2001, when she was 23 stones (146 kg) and rising.

Teena now weights 11 stone (69.9 kg). Tina says, "Suddenly it's like someone has given me this second chance… people who haven’t seen me don’t recognise me. That's a good feeling.

"I look at photos and home video with disbelief… It’s like looking at someone else. I can’t believe I was that big."


Obesity surgery is only an option for those who are seriously obese, as it does carry some risks. Anyone concerned about obesity can contact the following organisation for information:

Weight Concern
Brook House
2-6 Torrington Place
Tel: 020 7679 6636
Fax: 020 7813 2848

See also ...

Inside Out: West Midlands
More great stories

On the rest of Inside Out
North West: Life after obesity surgery

BBC Health: Obesity Surgery

On the rest of the web
Weight Concern
World Health Organization

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

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