Human Exceptionalism

World’s Once Fattest Man to Sue NHS for Not Stopping Him From “Growing”

I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, people who drink, eat, smoke, drug, copulate, etc. to excess should not be able to claim the mantle of victim and get others to pay for the consequences of their own poor choices.  On the other hand, there does come a point where such behavior is symptomatic of a real illness requiring medical intervention.  Now, a very fat man plans to sue the NHS because it did not stop him from eating 20,000 calories a day.  From the story:

Paul – once the world’s fattest man – vowed to use any compo to help other patients who need weight-loss ops.The  50-year-old, of Ipswich, said he begged his local NHS trust for help at 30st. But the medic he consulted in 1996 told him: “Ride your bike more.” When the former postman hit 64st he asked to see an eating disorders specialist, but was sent to a dietician.

He had life-saving gastric surgery last year and is now a relatively slim 37st. Paul said: “I want to set a precedent so no one else has to get to the same size – and to put something back into society.”

I am not sure of UK laws about suing for malpractice or failures to provide legally required care.  But if this were an American insurance company, I think a cause of action would lie.  The man was morbidly obese and asked for help.  I think it had become a medical issue and not a matter of self discipline.  But had the interventions been attempted–and failed–I think the law should not reward the patient.

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