Texas county backs off weight loss surgery

September 27, 2006

Officials in Travis County, Texas, have reversed an earlier decision to offer weight loss surgery to extremely overweight employees.

County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty had initially voted in favor of the proposal but later advised commissioners to reconsider, saying the surgery "is almost unsellable to the public," the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

The three commissioners who initially voted in favor of the plan each received 50 to 75 e-mails and phone calls -- nearly all opposed to the policy, the newspaper said. They said issues handled by the commission rarely cause that level of outcry from the public.

The commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday against offering the surgery and ordered county employees to conduct more research on the proposed procedures, including gastric bypass surgery.

Commissioner Karen Sonleitner, who opposed the offer in both votes, said she "got an earful from people who told me the surgeries for their loved ones were a disaster."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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