Obese Man Fused to Chair for Two Years

Before I say anything else, I think this title says it all.

The American was found by police in his house, too fat to get out of a chair. It seemed he had not moved from it for the entire time as his skin had become fused to the fabric of the chair. It was told that police had to cut a hole in the wall of his house to remove him.

“The unnamed man lived with two able-bodied roommates – including his girlfriend, who officials said fed him since he never got up – in a home in Bellaire, Ohio.

The roommates called police upon finding the man unresponsive on Monnday, WTRF-TV reported.

Officers who responded to the scene said that the man’s skin was fused to the fabric of chair and that he was sitting in his own feces and urine with maggots visible.

One officer said it was the worst thing he had ever responded to. Another told the local TV station he had to throw away his uniform after helping remove the man from the chair.

“The living room where the man lived in his chair was very filthy, very deplorable. It’s unbelievable that somebody lives in conditions like that,” Jim Chase, a local city code enforcer, told WTRF.

“I instructed the landlord this morning and the two people, the tenants at the house, they had to get it cleaned, there’s no way they can live in something like that, and so they are working on it,” he said.

The landlord told WTRF that the man used to be an active person and said she had no idea how bad his condition was since he covered himself with a blanket every time she came to visit.”

Extreme case, I know, but it begs the question. When do the alarm bells ring here? A year after being fused to a chair? When you can’t move to use the toilet? 6 months? A week? I would have been hopeful that at the very latest the squeeze of his wobbly sides into the creaking chair would have made him think, “hang on a minute, I’m getting too big for my furniture. Wake up call time – I have to do something about this”. Everyone has a tolerance level of their health/appearance etc, but it seemed this just didn’t trigger here.
Should we intervene in cases like this or is it self inflicted?

I believe in intervention if the individual genuinely wants help. In this case, without knowing all the facts admittedly, I can’t see that he appeared too bothered. When you live sitting in your own feces and urine with maggots on your body, I don’t see that you are all that worried whether you rot to death or not.


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Categories: Health, Medicine


Digital and Comms nerd working in an INGO. PhD researcher (technology / gender / International development / fragile and conflict affected states / South Sudan). Bibliophile. Writer. Musician. Views my own.

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4 Comments on “Obese Man Fused to Chair for Two Years”

  1. James Herron
    March 31, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    In a case this extreme, the man has to be suffering from some kind of mental issue that prevents him from making rational decisions regarding his own health and safety. Part of the problem may also be shame about asking for help once a situation has gotten this out of hand. I think we have a duty to help these sorts of people, even if we can’t fathom how someone could find themselves in a situation like this.

  2. March 31, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I’m inclined to agree Lou that we definitely need to intervene in these cases earlier before they get this extreme. However I find it hard to believe that neither one of his careless, negligent roommates bothered to inform any authorities of this man’s condition for so long. Instead, they fed him and contributed to worsening the situation. If this had been the reverse, and they’d been encouraging an anorexic to continue getting thinner, they’d be liable for criminal abuse. Like anorexia, extreme obesity is a disorder too. I guess the room mates weren’t educated on the severity of such a condition. It’s sad that only anorexia and “thinning” eating disorders are given airtime and educational preference, when obesity and low-self esteem is in epidemic proportions and cases like this are becoming more common. We need to educate society on the warning signs of this kind of thing, too.

  3. March 31, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    If the man was living alone and this happened he would be dead. I agree the housemates/girlfriend had a duty of care that they were ignoring. Regardless of his mental state, my questions here lie mostly for the other housemates.

    For the man himself, I agree, he must have a mental condition to allow himself to degenerate to this state. But is help readily available and who is to blame if he doesn’t ask for it? The government? The housemates? Himself?

  4. D
    August 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Is this real? Did this actually happen?? Sounds like an x-file

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