Man on hunger strike over weight-loss surgery
Monday 6 Jul 2015 6:11 p.m.
In what may appear to be a slightly self-defeating protest, a Rotorua man is going on hunger strike because ACC won't fund his weight-loss surgery.
Jason Patterson has been starving himself for five days.
"The first two to three days are really hard," he says. "I'm in this 100 percent now."
Mr Patterson is 130kg. He says he gained the weight after being put on previous medication.
He now needs a hernia operation, which ACC has agreed to fund. But before he can have the surgery, he has to lose at least 50kg.
"It's hopefully going to help me being on a hunger strike to lose weight, because I need to lose weight before I have my hernia operation."
Mr Patterson wants his gastric bypass surgery covered by ACC. He's made video diaries and created a fundraising website. But his case has been declined, so he's gone on hunger strike.
"It's just to show how serious I am about getting the weight loss surgery that I need."
ACC says it has provided Mr Patterson with several options to help lose weight, like visiting a dietician and psychologist to support his wellbeing. The agency says it's waiting for him to make a decision.
"I was hoping that they were going to give me the full package of the surgery to move on so I could come to Rotorua, train here and get my life back together."
Mr Patterson says he'll stay on strike in Rotorua until Thursday. From there, he'll take his cause to Wellington to protest outside ACC's head office.