Pensioner mortgages home for operation

A PENSIONER who was refused a double knee replacement because doctors said she was overweight has told how she re-mortgaged her home to pay for the treatment abroad.

A PENSIONER who was refused a double knee replacement because doctors said she was overweight has told how she re-mortgaged her home to pay for the treatment abroad.

Betty Tupman, 78, claims doctors at Ipswich Hospital refused to operate on her, even though she was in chronic pain, until she lost weight.

And, despite losing four stone after seeking treatment for a thyroid problem, the former Metropolitan police officer said she had still not had her operation after two years.

Unable to walk, the pensioner decided to take matters into her own hands and took out a mortgage on her home so she could have the treatment abroad.

“I was sick of waiting. I had severe arthritis in both knees,” she said.

“I needed my knees done urgently. I was on crutches and morphine. I couldn't move about at all.”

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Ms Tupman, from Felixstowe, contacted a company called Operations Abroad, which arranges medical tourism packages abroad.

She was sent a brochure with the different places she could have her treatment and she decided to opt for Malta.

“I thought I have to do it. I'd thought of selling up and going into a nursing home because I had been on morphine for so long and couldn't eat or walk,” she said.

“It was absolutely amazing. The hospital was first-class. They cared whether you ate or not,” she said.

Ms Tupman said the treatment has given her a new lease of life.

Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said: “We have a duty to make sure that we only add people to waiting lists when it's actually the right thing to do for the management of their care and that it's safe for us to go ahead and do the operation so people have the best chance of a strong recovery.

“This is especially important for major surgery. Sometimes, because of this, there is a delay between a patient seeing a specialist and being advised that it's in their best interests to reduce their body weight so they stand a much better chance of making a full recovery.”