Saturday, February 23, 2008
Spotted this story doing the rounds today, and could scarcely believe it.
Robert Marsden, age 40, weighs 41 stone and requires daily visits from carers. Due to his enormous bulk, it sometimes becomes difficult for the carers to move him. So they have to revert to the established procedure and call the fire brigade for assistance!
Which means TEN firefighters in two fire engines are dispatched to his house to shift him. This has happened FOUR times in a single week.
I have no problem with the carers summoning assistance. Otherwise sooner or later someone is likely to end up getting hurt. A friend's wife had her knee ligaments damaged when the hospital she worked in failed to provide proper lifting equipment, so I'm well aware of the dangers.
On so many other levels this is very wrong.
For starters, why does it have to be the fire brigade who are called out? Surely this is a golden opportunity for getting private enterprise involved.
Someone like Reliance - who do prisoner transfers - would be a good candidate, though with their record they'd probably end up going to the wrong house, or inadvertently heaving the guy away and dropping him at Barlinnie.
Maybe one of the airport baggage handling companies could take the contract. They are used to lumping heavy inanimate objects around. Perhaps the prospect of being exposed to their tender hands would motivate Mr Marsden to rediscover his mobility.
Taking my flippant free marketeers hat off, let's get down to the fundamental issue.
This guy is forty, unemployed, spends most of his day in bed, needs daily carers, and regularly requires the assistance of the emergency services. He claims he does not understand 'what the fuss was about'.
Well let me enlighten him. The fuss is about the fact he contributes nothing, while living off state benefits and routinely draining the state coffers due to his ridiculous weight. The state coffers funded by the rest of us who actually get out of bed in the morning and go to work.
Unless he does something to improve his condition there's no prospect of that drain diminishing, or him ever contributing a penny in tax until the day he dies. He is, effectively, a parasite gorging on the rest of us.
'My weight isn't something I like to discuss. It comes up in every conversation I have. I am tired of talking about it.' he says.
Credit where credit is due, at least he doesn't try to hide behind some mysterious medical condition. He is fat because he eats lots, and expends no energy.
How does he maintain his gargantuan weight? Given his obvious lack of mobility, he can't be routinely popping down to the shops for two litre bottles of Coke and family packs of crisps. The food must be brought to him; presumably by his carers or family.
Isn't this an obvious opportunity for some 'tough love'? Why are we paying for this guy to stay fat with the assistance of the local council, when all it's doing is prolonging his nonsensical condition.
Instead of Doritos and Monster Munch, why not just stick him on a lettuce and carrot diet until he is thin enough to get his own food?
No doubt human rights legislation would have something to say about that, but what rights are someone really entitled to when they have eaten themselves into a state of utter helplessness?
There are schoolkids in Scotland being told they can't study the courses they wish to because the council can't afford to fund them. Surely their rights are more important when it comes to allocating council cash?
The only positive thing I can see in Mr Marsden's current state is if he can't move, he can't be sat beside me on a train or plane.
If the carers can't give him some tough love, at the very least, the next time the fire brigade are called out, they should make a stand and nail his kitchen door shut.