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'Harrowing' six hours for obese man

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 15/07/2014

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A 220-kilogram Christchurch man spent a "harrowing" six hours stuck in his shower after he fell and was unable to get up.

Firefighters had to remove the shower door to get him out after his daughter raised the alarm.

She grew concerned after he failed to answer her phone calls and got a neighbour to check.

The 59-year-old was yesterday taken to Christchurch Hospital after his ordeal on Sunday night. The rescue came just days after six firemen had to remove a window to get a 320-kilogram Canterbury woman out of her father's rural home. She remains in Christchurch Hospital.

The 59-year-old man got in the shower about 2pm on Sunday, a relative said.

He was not rescued until about 8pm. "He was cold. Luckily he had an electric heater left on in the lounge.

"It's a pretty harrowing thing to happen. There's not much dignity," he said.

"If we weren't there to look after him, he would have been there for days."

Firefighters returned to the 59-year-old man's Christchurch City Council unit about 11am yesterday, this time to lift him into a waiting ambulance.

"They had to wait for a second ambulance to arrive with a special stretcher," a Fire Service spokesman said.

Five firemen helped the man onto the stretcher.

A neighbour said the 59-year-old was "a hell of a good sort" who was too proud to ask the council for a bigger flat.

He ordered his food online and needed others to get his Lotto tickets and medication.

The man's relative said he struggled with diet.

He previously exercised at Queen Elizabeth II Park, but became unwell and lost his independence. It had also affected his knee, and therefore his ability to walk.

The man remained in Christchurch Hospital last night.

On Thursday, firefighters rescuing the 320kg woman first removed a sliding door, but could not get her out, so they removed a window.

The 54-year-old Canterbury woman - and the mattress she lay on - were placed on a loader then into a waiting ambulance after an almost two-hour effort.

Eight firemen waited at Christchurch Hospital to carry her inside.

The woman's father said yesterday he had spoken to her on the phone and she was "in good spirits".

Bariatric surgeon Richard Stubbs said earlier the woman was likely to be beyond surgical intervention.

The Christchurch City Council said it tried to match tenants with units that met their needs.

The council's new social housing units would include walk-in showers, higher placement of power outlets and wider doorways.

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