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Fat man dies because he's too big for hospital scanner

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fat-manA MORBIDLY obese man who arrived at a hospital emergency department died after scanning equipment was unable to take his huge weight.


The 63-year-old, whose weight was estimated at about 35 stone, was short of breath and vomiting a black liquid but his condition could not be accurately diagnosed because he was too huge for a CT scan.

Medics at the hospital in Queensland, Australia, diagnosed him as having an inflamed gall bladder – but he later died of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, found at autopsy to have been caused by a duodenal ulcer.

Australia's Health Quality and Complaints Commission's (HQCC) annual report concluded it had been impossible to diagnose because of the "capacity limits" of the hospital's CT scanner.

The coroner in the case said: “The hospital radiology department concerned had the largest CT scanner available, however the scanner table could not carry a patient of the man's weight.

“Its CT tunnel possibly would not have accommodated a patient of the man's girth. If these factors could have been overcome, the thickness of the man's tissue that the X-ray tube was required to penetrate could have severely limited the accuracy of the scan results.”

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