Obese woman melts into couch
Posted 12 August 2004 - 08:05 AM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 08:19 AM
Human Couch" popped up on the Internet in 1998, making several lists of "Darwin Award" winners (although the subject hadn't met the requirement of "removing herself from the gene pool"). Its probable source was a collection of emergency room stories published in 1996, where the tale was related in a slightly longer form:
A mordibly obese woman was brought to the Emergency Department for shortness of breath on a tarp dragged by six firemen. After positioning two gurneys side by side, we somehow managed to lift her up. She was in respiratory failure due to her weight, which we estimated to be approximately five hundred pounds.
Attempting to undress her, we lifted her arms to pull her very large blouse over her head. To our surprise, an asthma inhaler fell out from under her right armpit. It had been enveloped in the skin.
Reviewing her chest X ray, we noticed a round density in the left chest. With the help of an assistant, we lifted up her massive left breast to find a shiny dime. No telling how long it had been there.
Finally, a nurse and two technicians attempted to place a Foley catheter in her bladder. After spreading apart one tree-trunk leg at a time, they found a handful of industrial paper towels, apparently being used as a sanitary napkin. But they also found an even larger surprise in her crotch -- a TV remote control.
When I gave a report about the patient to the unhappy admitting physician, I tried to cheer him up by reminding him that if he did a thorough exam, he too could find buried treasure. We nicknamed our patient The Human Couch.
The patient's family was very happy that we found the remote.
The same basic anecdote has been circulating on the Internet since at least the early 1990s:
While examining an obese woman a third year medical student moved the patient's left breast to the side in order to listen to her heart. Beneath her breast he found a sandwich in a ziplock bag. The patient stated: "Oh yeah, I forgot about that."
Our society has an unfortunate tendency to associate obesity with slovenliness -- people wouldn't be fat if they would just exercise some willpower and control their appetites, we callously assume, so why should we expect them to be concerned about hygiene? (A connection made more explicit in the example above, in which the concealed object is not only a food item but one the patient acknowledges knowing was there.) The grotesquely large woman with household objects and food concealed in folds of her own fat is the epitome of the "obese = slovenly" image, an image unfortunately reinforced by the attitudes expressed anecdotes like these.
Posted 12 August 2004 - 08:48 AM
Obese Woman Dies Stuck To Couch
POSTED: 6:52 am CDT August 12, 2004
CHICAGO -- A dramatic rescue ended tragically in Florida Wednesday when a woman died after being stuck to her couch.
Rescuers responded to a call at the home of a woman who was having trouble breathing.
The difficulty arose when emergency workers failed, after six hours, to dislodge 480-pound Gayle Laverne Grinds, from the couch in her home.
Workers said the home was filthy, and Grinds, 40, was too large to get up from the couch, even to use the bathroom.
Authorities estimate that she had been on the couch anywhere from two to six years. Her skin had reportedly grafted to the fabric in the couch.
Rescuers removed a sliding glass door in order to lift the couch, with the woman on it, and load it onto a trailer behind a pickup truck.
She died at Martin Memorial Hospital South, Orlando, still attached to the couch.
A preliminary autopsy on the the four-foot, ten-inch woman lists the cause of death as "morbid obesity."
Posted 12 August 2004 - 08:59 AM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 12:40 PM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 01:11 PM
The woman had been on the couch for 6 years. Her husband claimed that he tried to convince her to get up/around but she wouldn't. When it became clear she needed to get up/move, he didn't have the strength to do it.
The article said something about the stench being incredibly bad; that they had to use chemical protection suits and blow fans through the house in order to be able to work on her. It closed by saying that they had to move the couch and the woman together and that she died in the hospital still on the couch.
I am thinking more and more that this was a ruse/scam/urban legend. It is either a myth or incredibly sad.
Posted 12 August 2004 - 01:30 PM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 02:30 PM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 02:44 PM
"She died at Martin Memorial Hospital South, still attached to the couch."
Posted 12 August 2004 - 03:51 PM
Posted 12 August 2004 - 10:48 PM
Same thing with the 1000# fellow -- someone had to continue feeding him even though he couldn't move on his own.
I'd say a negligence charge is a start -- maybe even murder if they had provided the food, had the power to enforce a diet, and refused to do anything but promote their undeniably dangerous health condition.
Folsom Weather Webmaster
Posted 13 August 2004 - 05:54 AM
5. Walter Hudson (1944? - 1991) of Hempstead, NY (born in Brooklyn, NY); 5 ft 10 in, measured at 1197 lbs (though the industrial scale broke in the process of weighing him). His chest was measured at 106 inches, his waist at 110. Hudson was discovered by the press in 1987, when he became wedged in the door of his bedroom and had to be cut free by rescue workers. An agoraphobic, he'd spent most of the past 27 years in bed. Hudson lived with his family, where his appetite was always indulged, and gave every indication that he was content with both his weight and his situation. "I just ate and enjoyed it," he said. Despite his massive size, Newsday reported that he was extraordinarily healthy: his heart, lungs, and kidneys all functioned normally, while astonished doctors noted that his cholesterol and blood-sugar levels "showed the chemistry of a healthy 21-year-old." Even so, activist-turned-nutritionist Dick Gregory managed to convince Hudson that losing weight was necessary to save his life. Gregory used Hudson to promote his Bahamian Diet, and claimed that his protegé lost at least 200 lbs (sometimes claiming as much as 800 lbs) under his care, but when Hudson refused to perform for the cameras on cue, Gregory summarily abandoned him. Other celebrities and diet promoters also claimed to have helped him lose massive amounts of weight, though Newsday noted that Hudson never seemed to look any thinner. (Gregory threatened to sue his rivals for $50 million.) Hudson himself gave conflicting stories, sometimes claiming to weigh as little as 480 lbs or as much as 1400. He only allowed himself to be weighed once. Hudson died in his sleep after years of intermittent starvation dieting, a few weeks after announcing wedding plans. His body was found to weigh 1125 lbs, and his massive coffin required twelve pallbearers. (Links - 1, 2)
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