Picture over: Transport problem . . . 70st Paul enjoys a trip sitting in his special 3ft-wide wheelchair
THE world’s heaviest man is a Brit who has ballooned to 70 STONE, it was revealed yesterday. Paul Mason, 48, needs a £20,000 life-saving op after a compulsive eating disorder left him “super-obese”. He eats 20,000 calories of food a day – EIGHT TIMES the official adult male average of 2,500.
Paul scoffs three family-sized takeaways a night and wolfs down Sunday roasts like snacks. He has spent much of the past eight years in bed at his home in Ipswich, Suffolk. His care costs taxpayers an estimated £100,000 a year.
* Paul . . . op to control eating.
And now he needs drastic stomach surgery to stop him eating and keep him alive – at a cost of £20,000 to the NHS. But first health chiefs have to tackle the problem of transporting Paul to a specialist hospital 152 miles from his home. They even considered using an RAF Chinook HELICOPTER to airlift him to the unit in Chichester, West Sussex.
* Pipped . . . Manuel after diet.
They have ruled out that option and Paul will now travel in a five-ton ambulance specially built for obese people at a cost of £90,000. An NHS Suffolk spokesman said: “This man is very ill and this is life-saving surgery. “The nature of his illness is psychological and the NHS has a duty to help him. “He is in a very fragile state and needs help. We are exploring all options for transporting him from his home to hospital but we have now ruled out an airlift.
“The most important aspect of transporting him is preserving his dignity and looking after his safety. “We have not had anything like this before.” Susie Squire, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “While it is important to get this man the medical attention he needs, cost-effective methods must be used.” Paul has battled a compulsive eating disorder most of his adult life. His widowed mother Janet looked after him but she died six weeks ago at 76. He now has two carers treating him.
In 2002 a forklift truck had to be used to transport Paul from his bed and into hospital. At that time he weighed 56st and paramedics called the fire service after finding it impossible to lift him. Six firemen were also unable to get him on to a stretcher. Eventually they took out a window and brickwork and knocked down a neighbour’s garden wall to get him out.
Paul managed to shed 20 stone in 2006. At the time he admitted: “You’ve got to change your mindset when you’ve got a food addiction. You can’t have treats.” But he soon put the weight back on. And in 2007 he complained to his local council that he could not fit his special 3ft-wide wheelchair through the gates of an Ipswich park.
Surgery will take place within three weeks at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, where the NHS specialist bariatric service provides surgical weight-loss treatment. Paul became the world’s heaviest man after 90st Mexican Manuel Uribe, 43, halved his weight to wed last year. In 2004 the record holder was 77st American Patrick Deuel. Britain’s previous heaviest man was 65st cab driver Barry Austin, of Birmingham.