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It's the Gov't's Fault: Fmr World's Fattest Man Sues British National HC for Weight


"Ride your bike more."

The government let me get fat.

That's the argument of the former world's fattest man, a British citizen who once weighed 980 pounds. 50-year-old Paul Mason is suing the British National Health Service (NHS) saying that he reached out for help but didn't get the kind he wanted. That's despite the fact that the government paid for his gastric bypass surgery that led to him shedding 462 pounds.

The Daily Mail details his claims:

Mr Mason, who was eating 20,000 calories a day at his heaviest, claims he sought help from his GP after ballooning to 30 stone.

Instead of receiving a treatment programme to manage his weight, he has complained he was told in 1996: 'Ride your bike more'.

He also says he was sent to a dietician, rather than the eating disorders specialist he had asked to see, after his weight hit 64 stone.

'I want to set a precedent so no one else has to get to the same size - and to put something back into society,' Mr Mason told The Sun.

"As we have not heard from Mr Mason, it would be inappropriate to speculate," an NHS spokesperson told the Mail.

The total cost of Mason's care over the last 15 years has been about 1 million British pound sterlings, or over $1.5 million U.S.

That figure has many in Britain outraged. And that outrage shows just how sticky government health care can be: How does a government balance fiscal responsibility with citizen health and care? How much money is allocated to each patient, especially in an era where austerity is necessary? When resources are scarce, who gets what?

"It’s such a shame that so much time and resources have to go to help one person, these nurses will be sorely missed at a time when public finances are squeezed," Charlotte Linacre, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told the Mail.

"Although there is sympathy for people struggling with health issues, taxpayers will not feel this is a fair allocation of funds as they sit on waiting lists while footing the bill for his personal care."

And therein lies the dilemma: In a government health care system, it's taxpayers and government officials who decide when a patient gets care, what type of care he will get, and how much care is appropriate.

Mason said that if he wins his lawsuit, thus taking more taxpayer money, he will give it to programs to help obese people lose weight.

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