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11 Aug 2004 17:41
A man who once weighed more than 450kg has lost 144kg under the care of a team of doctors and hopes to lose 203kg more.
Patrick Deuel (42) of Valentine, Nebraska, weighed 482kg when he was admitted to Sioux Falls’s Avera McKennan hospital eight weeks ago. Deuel, who is just less than 1,8m tall, is on a 1 200-calorie-a-day diet.
“If we hadn’t gotten him here, he’d be dead now,” said Fred Harris, Deuel’s lead doctor.
The former restaurant manager has been bedridden since last fall.
He has battled heart failure, thyroid problems, diabetes, pulmonary hypertension and arthritis, and needed help just to roll over in bed.
“Until recently, I wasn’t able to see any light at the end of the tunnel,” he said on Monday from his hospital bed.
A group known as the League of Human Dignity helped arrange for Deuel to be driven to a local livestock scale, where he could be weighed.
According to the Guinness World Records website, the record for the heaviest man in the world is 629kg, held by Jon Brower Minnoch of Bainbridge, Washington, who died in 1983.
Deuel, who has battled weight problems all his life and blames his condition in part on genetics, said it took months to find a hospital.
“I got scared because I couldn’t help him anymore, and I didn’t know who would help him,” said his wife, Edith.
Harris said Deuel’s care could cost millions of dollars, much of which the hospital may have to cover. Officials found a special ambulance and hospital workers joined two beds to accommodate Deuel.
One of Deuel’s goals is to walk out of the hospital. He also wants to go to a Nebraska Cornhuskers football game, and take a walk with his wife.
“Even though he’s faced negativity all these years, he’s not a negative person,” Edith Deuel said. “He’s almost always been able to stay bubbly and make jokes and be happy.”—Sapa-AP
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