Why aren't the feeders of immobile 900-lb people charged with negligent homicide or something?

No. When your body burns fat it releases some nasty toxins, which it can handle pretty easily in normal weight loss scenarios, but not indefinitely. The toxins build up faster than your body can deal with them, leading to blood ph level issues, diabetic emergencies, blood pressure problems, kidney failure, etc. etc.

No doctor would ever suggest a starvation-level diet to a morbidly obese person.

What shocked me on these documentaries is when they finally get to an obesity clinic, they are STILL sneaking junk food into them and the staff knows about it. An administrator said “This is a hospital, not a prison. He can make his own choices”.

WTF? They can’t set rules for admission to the program? So if he lights up a cigar in his room, they just have to deal with that? I would toss them and bring in someone else who will try harder. Surely the government is paying for these programs.

Other reasons the analogy fails are that the bar has a financial incentive to keep serving the drunk, and the fairly strong potential for the drunk to cause harm to others, not just himself. This creates a much more plausible case for the bar to bear responsibility.

I don’t see US law penalizing the feeder unless the obese person is not mentally competent or if the food is being forced upon the obese person. People do make their own choices to a very great extent, especially when the harm is primarily restricted to themselves. There are some state laws against abuse of the disabled that might come into play if the obese person is mentally disabled or if the food is forced on a person physically disabled to the point of immobility.

The part that’s not being discussed here is that there is the assumption the huge person is a passive consumer. In many. if not most cases they are wheedling and demanding that their caretaker feed them. In some cases of fetish oriented men feeding wives like prize pigs you may have an aggressive feeder, however in most cases the eater is the demanding one and the feeder is a pliant, often not too bright, caretaker. The eater is usually the dominant personality in these scenarios.

See this story


his death

The guy in South Carolina was an odd case (much reported around here) - he had a knee problem, couldn’t afford the surgery, so he came home, sat in his chair, and waited for God to fix it.

God declined, and his wife spent months cleaning his chair around him because he never got up after that. He sent out sermon after sermon from the chair waiting for his faith healing to work.

I’m not sure you can really blame the wife for that one.

Do you have a link for that? Cuz that was not my understanding at all of the case. True he was some sort of online preacher or something, but the wife still brought him the caloric equivalent of nearly 10 Big Macs of extra food per day…him asking God to fix his knee really has nothing to do with the massive overfeeding that the wife was doing.

Virginia law, for one example, prohibits neglect or abuse of an incapacitated adult. Under the terms of that statute, it’s probably difficult to prosecute for overfeeding. If the man in the chair spent his last weeks screaming, “I need a doctor but I can’t reach the phone,” a neglect case might be made, but how would we ever know that?

More info. Don’t know what your understanding of the case was, but she pretty much summed it up. Cliffs Notes version:

  1. Fat guy has bad knee (duh!) and no in-show-ance
  2. Doc says, 'Eh, that’ll be $300 up front to examine you.
  3. Fat guy and wife (don’t think either worked) don’t have that kind of money, so they go home.
  4. Fat guy moves to his recliner, relying on a miracle, all the time putting on even more weight.
  5. Fat guy’s health suddenly (or not) goes south.

And, in a similar situation, another story from 2004.

I mean, I’m sure she was overfeeding, but that’s the basic outline of the case. Keep in mind, she’s the one who was also trying to clean the shit off the recliner with him in it, so it’s not like she was having the time of her life.

Right. But the reason he was “putting on even more weight” was that his wife was feeding him 10 times more food that he was supposed to be eating. The whole broke/no insurance/faith healing stuff is really irrelevant to the fact that she was bringing him mountains of food every day.

So why did she keep overfeeding him? I can’t imagine the amount of shit that a person that size, who is eating the equivalent of 15 Big Macs a day would be producing. Was she retarded or something that she couldn’t figure out that correlation?

Because that’s what they do. Edie Deuel was feeding Patrick (practically) by the shovelful. He was “only” 700 pounds when they married–but still mobile. At the time of his surgery, he had been bedridden for quite a while–and she was still a-shovelin’ food his way. In the docs about Manuel Uribe, both his mom and his fiancée/wife are constantly trying to get him to eat more.

IANAPs, but I suspect it might entail something like the person’s helplessness gives them some kind of validation because shows them that they are needed.

Okay, we both agree on that. That’s what they do.

So back to the original question, I still don’t see how people who do that (push food on the obese till they die) aren’t criminally charged with something…

For instance, how about the mom of “half-ton son” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzktJYFkEJ0? Why wasn’t she charged with child abuse back when the kid was only 15 or so and already bedridden due to her buying and feeding him shopping carts full of junk food and McDonalds?

I don’t know what she was doing before he got glued to the chair, but it seems like once a person never does any physical activity whatsoever, doesn’t even get up to go to the bathroom, they’re going to gain weight on anything but a starvation diet. If you continue to eat like you did before you absolutely stopped moving, then you’re going to get really fat really fast.

Did anyone, ever, EVER ask her why she was doing this?

Yes. As mentioned upstream, you can watch it for yourself on youtube. However. . .
The off-screen producer asks pretty much that same question. She responds, laughing, “Well, he probably would have asked for more food anyway.”
She later says, in reference to her complying with his food requests, that “You need to show them you love them in a way they understand” (or something like that).
Patrick also says, in reference to a question about his overeating, “The best way to alienate me is to tell me 'No” . . . I’ll rip ya ta shreds."

The relationship dynamics are pretty interesting. Enablers live in a different world. In addition to the comments shown above, she says:
“I can’t wait until you’ve lost enough weight to sit up and look out the windows” (of the van she uses to transport him, where he has to lie down since the seats can’t accomodate him) [Well, she was the reason he couldn’t.]
“More protein.” (with a nodding affirmation). [This was in reference to a piece of KFC chicken that Patrick was going to save for later to “snack on.”]
“I don’t keep sweets in the house.” [Uh. . . OK]

No, you’re probably not the first person to consider an alternative course of action.

But if she answers “that’s what he likes to eat” and if he, when acting on his own, also chooses to eat large amounts of unhealthy food, people might not insist on blaming her to the extent of criminal negligence. Unless he’s mentally ill, he’s got the same legal right to eat a hamburger as any of us. If he’s mentally ill, she might be able to try having him committed or getting some kind of power of attorney. It might not be the highest priority of our medical and legal systems, though.

In the case of a child, I can see possibly bringing charges of child abuse. Next time you are aware of a case like this in your area, why don’t you report it to child services and see how it goes? But people have a legal obligation to care for children that’s not quite the same as their obligation to care for even physically disabled adults.

She probably could be charged with negligence or abuse, for example, if she cut off his communication with the outside world or took complete control of joint finances. If he uses that freedom to obtain food, that’s his free will there.

I don’t think anyone is saying these superobese bedridden folks can’t ever have “a hamburger”.

OTOH, say we have a situation where a doctor TELLS the wife that if she keeps bringing him TEN hamburgers a DAY that he will die. She responds by continuing to bring the husband a daily shipment of ten double whoppers with cheese and fries or five large pizzas or whatever. As predicted, he dies of a coronary.

Shouldn’t there be some accountability there?

How can you be accountable for someone else’s choices? Yes, these spouses are helping, sure. But they aren’t shoving the cheeseburger down their throats.

If I’m the co-dependent girlfriend of a raging alcoholic, am I legally accountable if I go out partying with him and help him make excuses for why he is missing work in the morning and the drink eventually kills him?

Co-dependent relationships are ugly by all accounts. And yeah, there is certainly some moral culpability when it comes to being an enabler. But legally? No.

So she should risk his anger and possible violence to withhold food from him? If she is going to be the caregiver to an immobilized person, she’s going to have to get close to him. From **ES-HT’s **quote “The best way to alienate me is to tell me 'No” . . . I’ll rip ya ta shreds." So it doesn’t sound like this guy was above making threats of violence. If he has a disability check, that may also be her only source of income.

If she’s aggressive about feeding him and he makes a complaint about it, there should be some protection for him. Let him take out a restraining order. Otherwise mentally competent adults are assumed to be acting of their own free will.

Anyway, am I the only one who finds the post-topic/ username combo here amusing?