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.