HOUSTON – A Houston surgery center has offered to donate a gastric bypass operation to a 420-pound boy who needs the procedure for a chance at a healthy life.
Obesity Surgery Specialists (search) offered the surgery to Brandon Bennett, 16, after his health insurance declined to cover the procedure.
The surgery is scheduled for the first week of November.
Brandon had been set to have gastric bypass surgery at Texas Children's Hospital (search) in Houston this month. That was canceled, however, when hospital officials learned that his insurance company did not cover the procedure.
The center contacted Brandon's family Tuesday after an article in Sunday's editions of the Houston Chronicle detailed his health problems.
"This young man desperately needs this surgery," said Laurie Cantrell, bariatric program director at Obesity Surgery Specialists.
Brandon is so big, he is not allowed on rides at Six Flags Astroworld. Also, Clear Lake High School (search) often sends him home because of high blood pressure and an elevated heart rate.
Dr. Robert Marvin and an anesthesiologist have agreed to donate their time to perform the surgery at Houston Community Hospital (search), pending a final medical review of Brandon's records, Cantrell said.
The surgery typically costs about $25,000 and can get up to $100,000 if there are complications.
Obesity Surgery Specialists has performed about 230 gastric bypasses in the last two years, but its doctors have not performed the surgery on an adolescent.
Brandon's father, Michael Bennett, said he has confidence in a surgical team experienced in adult surgery because his son has the physiology of a grown man. Brandon is 6-foot-2.
"I can't believe this is finally going to happen," Brandon's father said. "I didn't know people like this existed in the world. This is wonderful."