• Germany edition
 
Obese man dies after refusing zoo X-ray
Photo: A screenshot of Bild.de

Obese man dies after refusing zoo X-ray

Published: 03 Nov 2009 10:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Nov 2009 10:43 GMT+01:00

Thomas Lessmann, who weighed 230 kilos (507 pounds), had not been feeling well and had lost consciousness several times when he sought medical care at the renowned University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) on September 21, the paper said.

The 51-year-old patient was at the hospital for 10 hours, but because he couldn’t fit into the hospital’s X-ray machine, doctors there recommended that he go to the nearby Hagenbeck animal park, which has a much larger machine.

“It sounded as if they wanted to mock us,” his wife Petra Lessmann told the paper.

His hospital discharge summary reportedly read: “Imaging not feasible here due to body weight, please arrange as an outpatient, for example at Hagenbeck.”

But Lessmann felt too humiliated to go to the zoo and died of unknown causes 13 days later.

“We regret the unclear instruction ‘at Hagenbeck’,” UKE spokesperson Christine Jähn told Bild. “We understand that it’s irritating for patients and relatives when they are referred to veterinary facilities.”

While all patients have a right to medical care, the maximum capacity of most hospital machines is around 200 kilo, Jähn explained.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:26 November 5, 2009 by mprulez
"I do not think that I want my health insurance money spent on a special x-ray machine for extremely overweight people. If he feels too embarrassed to have his x-rays taken at the zoo, that is his problem.

"

The machine is for everyone. The only difference is that it can bear heavy weights.

For those people here who say that he should not have been embarassed: situational context is different from past behavior.
16:33 November 6, 2009 by William Thirteen
i think pepsionice is on target - sounds like typical german customer service. the medical personnel should have made it clearer that he urgently needed to have the x-ray - and they probably should have brought him over there themselves.

as written in the article, the referral seemed to just be making an off color joke.
13:06 November 10, 2009 by Vargaz
"In a protective action the board of medical reviewers at the Hagenbeck facility, led by Dr. L. E Phant, voted unanimously to decline letting a 500 pound man onto the premises in fear that he would eat the staff. Many obese humans, commonaly known as fat slobs known for their lack of restraint and penchant for giant wursts of all kinds, request using the machinery at Hagenbeck because they can't fit into the machines at regular human hospitals. The only dissenter was the shapely Dr. W. Albust, a well known blubberette specialist. The staff have decided to implement a new rapid weight reduction plan by simply rolling obesely plump candidates into the hungry lions yard" May he RIP.
22:56 November 24, 2009 by kimberlycalifornia
I can't believe this has gotten so many comments. The point of the matter is, it's an unfortunate situation. I understand his humiliation and refusal at first, but he probably thought he had more time than 13 days to think about his options and finally swallow his pride and go to the veterinary services for an x-ray. What's done is done.
Today's headlines
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,532
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd