Well Being

World’s Fattest Man Loses 650 Pounds, Costing Taxpayers $1.6 Million: Right Or Wrong?

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Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 10.09.02 AMYesterday was a day of celebration for Paul Mason, the British man who used to be called “The world’s fattest man.” After years of struggling with his weight, Mason has now dropped nearly 650 pounds. It's an amazing success story, but one that has cost taxpayers $1.6 million, according to Fox News. And now he's suing for more money.

The 51-year-old once weighed nearly 1,000 pounds. But thanks to gastric bypass surgery which was funded by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), his stomach was reduced to the size of an egg, allowing him to lose nearly two-thirds of his body mass.

And he's not done yet. Mason told reporters that his goal is to get down to 200 pounds, “I still have a way to go.”

The total for Mason’s medical bills have cost taxpayers more than $1.6 million so far. And now he's fighting the NHS to pay for additional surgery to remove the excess skin on his body, which will cost up to $50,000 more.

Not only that, but Mason is also suing the NHS for not treating his eating disorder correctly the first time. He claims that dietitians there merely told him to lose weight by riding his bike more. They failed to identify his serious eating disorder until it was almost too late years later, he says. So now he's taking them to court. And it's something he believes is necessary, he told The Sun:

I want to set a precedent so no one else has to get to the same size – and to put something back into society.

While it's wonderful that Mason has managed to lose so much weight and get on a healthy track, it's also a bit troubling that he's now trying to make money off of it. I do agree that health organizations and doctors need to be as attentive as possible when dealing with someone who is so obese, but I am also a firm believer in personal responsibility. What specifically did he do for years after visiting the NHS for help? How many times did he visit them or other weight loss experts? What steps did he take on his own to lose the weight?

Those are all questions that remain unanswered.

In the mean time, there's no doubt that Mason is an inspiration with his weight loss and what he achieved:

I was ashamed to be called the fattest man in the world because I knew I’d got myself in a hell of a state. I am proud that I have shown to other people with weight problems what can be achieved.

But is it right that his weight loss may end up costing taxpayers over $2 million, and that he wants to sue the NHS on top of that? Tell us what you think.

Photo: bbc.co.uk