Friday, November 20, 2009

900 Lb. Man Dies In Lay-Z-Boy Recliner

A South Carolina man who reportedly weighed almost 900 lbs. has died of cardiac arrest at 33, after months without getting up from his Lay-Z-Boy recliner chair. After injuring his knee 9 months ago, he apparently never left his home again, or even walked at all. He just remained continuously in his recliner.

His wife blamed his death on a lack of health insurance. "If he would have had the proper care we tried to get for him back in March this would have never happened," his wife asserts in the two minute piece from a local TV news station embedded below. I feel badly for her. (What is barely alluded to in this piece is that this deceased man apparently just went to the bathroom in his recliner, and she, having been married to him only 2 years, dutifully cleaned up after him. That's amazing devotion.) But insurance coverage didn't kill him at 33. Nine hundred pounds did. Notice how every one of his relatives interviewed in this local TV news piece, including his wife, is also morbidly obese. (A police report said he weighed about 800 pounds, but his wife still insisted that he was closer to 500 pounds.)
Would our society as a whole benefit if other people weighing 900 lbs., with the myriad of chronic, costly and ongoing health problems caused thereby, were fully insured by a "public option"? Reportedly he was warned 9 months ago when in the hospital for treatment on his knee that his weight and lifestyle would kill him if he didn't make a drastic change. He was a school bus driver for 15 years, until his increasing weight made that impossible. But rather than alter his lifestyle, he apparently retreated to his mobile home and got heavier still.
It's also interesting to see what gets reported about any given story (and not) and where. What goes unmentioned in this local TV news piece is that he was apparently an associate pastor at a local church and that in his last, recliner-bound months, he filled his time by writing sermons and posting them on his internet site and by "talking to other people about religion on the internet," according to the Associated Press.

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