(CN) – A pizza shop must pay for weight-loss surgery for its 380-pound employee to prepare him for back surgery after he fell on the job, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
Adam Childers, 25, was accidentally hit in the back with a freezer door while working at Boston’s Gourmet Pizza. He weighed 340 pounds and smokes 30 cigarettes per day.
Childers suffered severe pain in his back that radiated down to his legs. Doctors told Childers that back surgery would not work unless he lowered his weight, which had increased to 380 pounds.
The trial court ruled that the “single injury” from the job entitled Childers not only to the back surgery but to the lap-band surgery that would precede it.
The state appeals court affirmed the decision.
“There is no evidence that Childers’ weight at the time of the injury precluded successful resolution of his pain … thus, evidence supports the (Workers’ Compensation) Board’s conclusion of the requisite causal relationship between Childrers’ work-related injury and the need for lap-band treatment,” Judge Darden wrote.
Lap-band surgery involves the implantation of an inflatable silicone device around the top of the stomach. This creates the illusion of the stomach filling up quicker, sending a message to the patient’s brain that the stomach is full.