I want to get ahead of the curve in nominating a recent report as the strangest medical news story I have ever read. It's a story that has taken on a life of its own, after the death of a man under unusual circumstances.
A 43-year-old morbidly obese man in Ohio died after police found him literally fused to a chair. He reportedly had not moved from the chair in two years, causing his skin became stuck to the chair's fabric over time.
The man had two roommates, one of which was his girlfriend, who fed him because he was unable to move from the chair. The roommates called the police when they found him unresponsive on Sunday.
The officers who responded to the call said that the man was sitting in his own feces and urine with maggots visible, according to published reports. They said the living room he lived in was incredibly filthy, and all three roommates had been living deplorable conditions. One officer even said he had to throw out his uniform after helping to remove the man from his chair.
If these reports are true, the people enabling his immobility should be held accountable. But I have to admit, I am a bit skeptical.
For a man to be glued to a chair -- not leaving it for one moment in two years seems far-fetched to me. That's not even taking into account the health issues that would have arisen from sitting in two years worth of excrement. But let's assume that he was confined to being highly inactive.
In this case, what amazes me the most is that he had two people in his life that were aware of and allegedly facilitating his lifestyle.
In a way, it's very sobering because we have many live-in health aids in this country who people rely on to provide them with their daily needs -- but these are qualified professionals who cost money for their care services. So it would seem ideal to have a loved one who is able to stay home and take care of you, right? Well, as this story has demonstrated, that's not always the case. And sometimes, it can actually cause more harm than good.
This can precipitate more complications than an otherwise inactive lifestyle might already cause. From severe bed sores to bladder infections to clotting disorders, anything could happen.
The truth is, we have very limited details on what led to the death of this man. But I believe that this is less of a report about a man who died fused to a chair, and more a commentary on the way the people around him took care of him.
When it comes down to it, the people he depended on failed to give him the help that he clearly needed. And that, to me, is the saddest part of the story.