• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Manhunt on for police officer's killer
Police searching the area on Thursday morning have released an e-fit of the suspect. Photo: DPA/Polizei Hessen

Manhunt on for police officer's killer

A police officer was shot dead in a street in western Germany on Wednesday night, prompting a large-scale manhunt for the culprit. READ  

'Auschwitz criminal,' 89, dies ahead of extradition
Photo: DPA

'Auschwitz criminal,' 89, dies ahead of extradition

An 89-year-old American and alleged Nazi war criminal died just hours before a US court approved his extradition to Germany, his lawyer said late on Wednesday. READ  

Robots could take half of jobs in Germany
The employee of the future? Photo: DPA

Robots could take half of jobs in Germany

More than half of the jobs currently being done in Germany could be taken over by robots in the next 20 years, according to a think-tank. READ  

Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Prisoners of War pictured in 1918. Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825

Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online

Hundreds of thousands of rare records and images from World War I have been put online by the German government, ahead of Monday's 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict. READ  

Merkel to push for 'swift' EU Russia sanctions
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir Putin chat with Fifa President Sepp Blatter (c) in Brazil before the 2014 World Cup final. Photo: DPA

Merkel to push for 'swift' EU Russia sanctions

UPDATE: Russia's failure to help quell the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and fully assist the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 demanded a tough response, a German government spokesman said on Wednesday. READ  

Löw to remain Germany coach to 2016
Joachim Löw (l) during a coaching session in Brazil. Photo:DPA

Löw to remain Germany coach to 2016

UPDATE: Joachim Löw will remain German national football team coach following the World Cup victory in Brazil, he confirmed on Wednesday. READ  

Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
A pro-Palestine demonstration in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests

Demands are growing in Germany for the prosecution of protesters in Berlin, Frankfurt and other cities who led anti-Semitic chants and incited violence against Jews over Israel's military offensive in Gaza. READ  

The Local List
The 12 best words in the German language
Photo: DPA

The 12 best words in the German language

The Local List has covered all aspects of German words, from the untranslatable to the longest. But we've never done a ranking of what are simply the best words in the German language, until now... READ  

Munich police find 49 refugees on one train
Police arrested three Italians for allegedly driving 25 Syrians into Germany on Tuesday. Photo: Bundespolizei

Munich police find 49 refugees on one train

Police in Munich found 49 refugees on one train which arrived at the city’s central station from Italy on Monday night. Officers in the Bavarian capital have reported a “huge increase” in the number of people arriving illegally over the last few weeks at Munich's train terminal. READ  

Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home
Coach Joachim Löw ensured his team had a yoga instructor with them at all times. Photo: DPA

Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home

Germany’s World Cup winning football team have revealed one of the secrets of their success in Brazil this summer – yoga. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
View from Germany: 'Nobody will win in an economic war with Russia'
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Jobtalk: How innovative is Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Joachim Löw: A career in pictures
Photo: Submitted
Society
Is this expat cat the world's oldest?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Germany's week in pictures: July 12th - July 18th
Photo: DPA
National
Heatwave to bring highs of 36C to Germany
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Should Germany follow France and ban the burqa?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Which workers is Germany short of?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten best expat jobs in Germany: Which one would you choose?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
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

3,236
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd