World’s Fattest Man Loses 650 Pounds, Costing Taxpayers $1.6 Million: Right Or Wrong?

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 10.09.02 AMYesterday was a day of celebration for Paul Mason, the British man who used to be called “The world’s fattest man.” After years of struggling with his weight, Mason has now dropped nearly 650 pounds. It’s an amazing success story, but one that has cost taxpayers $1.6 million, according to Fox News. And now he’s suing for more money.

The 51-year-old once weighed nearly 1,000 pounds. But thanks to gastric bypass surgery which was funded by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), his stomach was reduced to the size of an egg, allowing him to lose nearly two-thirds of his body mass.

And he’s not done yet. Mason told reporters that his goal is to get down to 200 pounds, “I still have a way to go.”

The total for Mason’s medical bills have cost taxpayers more than $1.6 million so far. And now he’s fighting the NHS to pay for additional surgery to remove the excess skin on his body, which will cost up to $50,000 more.

Not only that, but Mason is also suing the NHS for not treating his eating disorder correctly the first time. He claims that dietitians there merely told him to lose weight by riding his bike more. They failed to identify his serious eating disorder until it was almost too late years later, he says. So now he’s taking them to court. And it’s something he believes is necessary, he told The Sun:

I want to set a precedent so no one else has to get to the same size – and to put something back into society.

While it’s wonderful that Mason has managed to lose so much weight and get on a healthy track, it’s also a bit troubling that he’s now trying to make money off of it. I do agree that health organizations and doctors need to be as attentive as possible when dealing with someone who is so obese, but I am also a firm believer in personal responsibility. What specifically did he do for years after visiting the NHS for help? How many times did he visit them or other weight loss experts? What steps did he take on his own to lose the weight?

Those are all questions that remain unanswered.

In the mean time, there’s no doubt that Mason is an inspiration with his weight loss and what he achieved:

I was ashamed to be called the fattest man in the world because I knew I’d got myself in a hell of a state. I am proud that I have shown to other people with weight problems what can be achieved.

But is it right that his weight loss may end up costing taxpayers over $2 million, and that he wants to sue the NHS on top of that? Tell us what you think.



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    • waddle waddle

      wow who needs a fat lazy bludger like this,his eating disorder was called in the past being fat lazy and eating too much. its not a disorder,he needed to sort out his self inflicted health problems himself and of course hes not gonna take any type of responsibility about his behaviour,we have to pay,pay for this. no he should its absurd,the asshole couldnt work for yrs due to his size and guess what,we pay again for that one,the whole benefit bonanza needs to be completely thrown out the window,for all our sakes,well the poles p…s and somalis arnt included in that statement, in blairs new age PC UK OK yaaaah,what a state he is. he should be ashamed of himself and we should as well for putting up with his and millions of others fanciful perceptions that others can pay for their limitations,time to stop,we will stop in the the greeks ask them,

    • sara

      Would we be asking whether it was “right” for a cancer victim to “cost taxpayers” over a million dollars, if that is how much their treatment cost (I’m sure often it does!)? I’m sorry, but no one gets to be 1,000 pounds by just eating too much…there is clearly something medically wrong that is not about simply personal responsibility…I can eat all the junk food I can possibly eat, and I’ll gain a little, but not to that extreme level, and I think that is true of most people without an underlying medical issue. Suing the medical system for damages seems extreme, but it’s unreasonable to say he should not have been eligible to receive treatment for his medical condition like anyone else with a serious condition.

    • Tara

      Personally I think that if health care services offered more preventative measures like covering for gym memberships and diet plans, there would be a lot less people struggling with weight issues. And in the long run, they would save money because there would be less people getting sick over weight related issues like cancer. What most people don’t understand about being overweight is it really isn’t about the food. It has a lot to do with the mind and how you process stress. Some people smoke, drink, do drugs, and of course some eat. I have struggled with my weight all my life and I can tell you it is not easy. And, if what ever mental issues are not fixed, the up and down weight cycle is just going to continue to affect my life. I have found a better emotional outlet recently (zumba), which has helped but people need to find their muse.

    • Amy

      I don’t think its appropriate to sue because the dietitians just ‘told him to ride his bike more.’ I doubt any dietitian is going to look at a morbidly obese individual and give them that one useless unrealistic piece of advice. Perhaps that is all he was *willing* to hear. An eating disorder is difficult to diagnose unless the person is completely forthcoming about what they are dealing with and WANT to get help. If the dietitian had said “I think you are lying about how much you eat” he probably wouldn’t have gone back to him/her. If he HAD continued to seek treatment and made every effort to get himself better and the dietitians or doctors disregarded him, then shame on them but it sounds like he spiraled out of control and didn’t continue treatment.

    • silke

      I do not think any of this is appropriate. He is not taking any responsibility for his life.

      And comparing that to a cancer patient is plain wrong.

    • BFD

      I would like to see a breakdown of costs, how it all tallies up to $1.6 million.