I was watching the tv last night and on channel 4 was a programme called “Britain’s Fattest Man“. The wife usually likes these sort of programmes, so I put it on and start watching. Here is the link for the trailer.
Now I’m sure you’re all thinking the same as I was at the beginning: No sympathy as you’ve gotten yourself in that state. And this is true, no one force-fed him food. We don’t have pity for drug addicts of alcoholics or smokers, so why should he be different? So with this in mind, I began to listen to his story:
He starts off by saying how depressed he gets etc. and hates himself. Well, no sympathy so far. Then you hear the narrator saying how he looked after his poorly mother and was her main carer. This gave him a great deal of stress and his only outlay was food. (ok, I’m feeling a little for him now then, reasons and all that). But he fell out with his sisters as, due to having no money, he persuade his ailing mother to re-mortgage her home to the sum of £10,000! Then they show his room, which has a brand new Windows 7 laptop and a load of other gadgets, which I’m sure cost a pretty penny. This totally removes the sympathy I had started building because there is no way in hell he could earn any money, therefore the tax payer is stumping up the cash for him.
And that was my feeling all the way through to be honest. Probably the accountant coming out in me, but I wondered how much money he has sucked out of the country purely cause he had 4 sausages, a pack of bacon, 4 eggs, hash browns and fried bread for breakfast for Christ knows how long! According to the programme (all endorsed by him, so pretty close to fact I’d say) he was averaging around 20,000 calories a day at the height of his eating:
“Fry up every morning, four sausages, a whole packet of bacon, four eggs, two pieces of fried bread, hash browns,” he said.
“At half ten I’d have sausage rolls, pastries. Lunch would be fish and chips, kebab, and then in the evening time it would be another takeaway.
“In a day I would eat 30-40 chocolate bars, three-four multipacks of 24 crisps.”
The surgeon who took the man’s case was Mr Somers (a consultant bariatric surgeon). In an interview for the BBC News Website, he supported the public funding of the operation, which would cost in the region of £20,000, by claiming the cost of letting him live in this state on government benefits would greatly outweigh the cost of the op. He has a point, but why should we be forced to pay for this man to live purely because he ate the amount he did?
In the programme, it showed Paul after the operation. He was on the phone to his social worked who informed him that his funding had been cut from £750 a week to a mere £300 a week! That’s more than I earn in a week and he broke down in tears saying he wished he’d died on the operating table. I started feeling sorry for him as he broke down in tears at this prospect, but again I couldn’t shake the fact that we’re going through a terrible economic situation in this country at the moment, where education funding is being slashed, public spending is being slashed and then this man is draining £300 a week (£750 prior to filming for god knows how long) from the public’s piggy bank, £20k for his 1 op and the £x.xx amount for his follow-up plastic surgery operations. My wife and I have worked all our lives, have a new child and we’re only just making ends meet.
The end of the programme showed him take ownership of his new, specially made motorized wheelchair. I’m pleased he can get about now, but again, how much did it cost and who paid? I work for a training provider who teaches and helps teenagers get apprenticeships and NVQ‘s and we’ve had our funding cut this year by our new coalition government. How many young people’s education was sacrificed for this selfish man’s new wheels?
Every drop of sympathy I had left me. Harsh? Yes. Heartless? Possibly. Honest and real? DEFINITELY
In closing, I found these comments on the Channel 4 preview website:
Jax on 05 January 2011 at 20:27What you fail to realise this is a disease. Most people who get this way never feel full, the brain does not communicate properly to their bodies as it would to you or I ,so they have no control over the amount they eat. And you don’t need to be rich to buy food, its cheaper than booze and drugs. Sadly Obesity comes on faster than drug or booze addiction, and takes longer to lose weight then coming of drugs and booze. Even if you limit his diet he will indeed starve to death, as his body is used to certain number of calories, so his weight loss will need to be slowly monitored. Seems we are a nation of people who are far too materialistic, with low morals and little empathy towards our fellow-man,going by some of these comments.I feel good that some of my taxes goes to help people with genuine needs, rather than pay for an MP to have luxuries that most of the nation can’t afford.
- Reporttrixie on 05 January 2011 at 20:16THIS IS A LETTER TO PAUL; Dear Paul, i hope your operation goes well! :)its 50% Hopefully all your family are supporting you every step of the way. May god look down on you and will hold your hand through bad times and good times, remember you can always count on him, what ever the time he’ll be their day and night, may he bless you always 🙂 Britian is behind you x
- ReportTerry on 05 January 2011 at 19:11I absolutely agree with Frank. This society is democratic for everyone except the tax payer! I’d like someone to ask me what I’d like to spend my hard earned tax money on for a change! As it is I have to cut down on my own food bill to manage my budget; Why? so that I can help this man eat more!!!!! A diabolical state of affairs indeed.
- ReportFRANK on 05 January 2011 at 18:13It’s disgraceful that the tax payer has to fund this. Where does he get his money from to eat that much anyway, who’s getting and preparing all the food for him. This is not the same as drug addiction or alcoholism, he will not suffer if he is prevented from eating too much, he just will not like it.Stop all his ‘help’ and get real.
I agree with all of this points if truth be known. Frank and Terry are echoing my own sentiments (apart from Frank’s impression that it would be easy and simple for him to lose weight by not eating, anyone who diets will tell you that just ain’t true) and I also agree with Jax on a few points. It is true that food and more importantly, junk food is so cheap and readily available compared to drugs or drink, that obesity is a very real threat. And if I had the choice, I’d rather my tax money go to people who have a problem and need help than a fat-cat politician for his duck house.
As I’m sure you can tell, I have conflicting feelings here. The accountant in me says people like him are leeches and sucking this country dry of valuable resources better spent elsewhere. Then the human being in me says that he has a problem and needs help. We all know the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, but is there really that much done to advertise the dangers and addictions of obesity? Perhaps this is a prime case where our public money would be better spent on prevention. It is better than cure, you know……..