Obese man wastes taxpayer dollars

Roxy Hammond

Roxy Hammond

I picked up my Argus Leader a couple of Sundays ago to have a rather discouraging picture staring back at me.

Of course, the picture of the 600-lb. man lying on a couch wasn’t surprising, since there has been ample media coverage on his battle with obesity.

But what was rather unnerving was the fact that he had a cigarette burning in his hand. As well as a headline that read “Back home, Deuel slips into old habits.”

What? Wasn’t this the guy that drained the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars to escape his life-threatening obesity? The guy who spent seven months in the hospital, being cared for around-the-clock by doctors and nurses?

And now he goes home and starts smoking and abandoning his diet?!?

Now, I’ll try my best not to be mean about this, but I don’t know how successful I’ll be. This really ticks me off.

Let’s think about it. He spent TONS of taxpayer money as well as hospital funding on his medical expenses. The program helping him out had to be closed down because it ran out of money. Let’s just say this wasn’t a cheap feat.

I’ve always found it hard to swallow, to know that the money being taken out of my paychecks is being used to help this unfathomably obese man lose weight. Instead of being used to find a cure for breast cancer, or find homes for the thousands of kitties euthanized every year because the humane society can’t afford to house them. Aren’t they overweight enough for help, or what?

But hey, I’m willing to help out the less fortunate most of the time. And I’ll even try not to wonder how he reached over 1,000 lbs. in the first place.

I’ll even try to forget that he spent months in the Avera McKennan Hospital taking up the time of important doctors and nurses. I mean, he did have a good attitude, and seemed to be putting an effort toward turning his life around. That’s okay with me.

But what isn’t okay is when he goes home and plants himself in front of the television and watches episode after episode of Star Trek. Not cool.

I understand that it takes a lot of work and self-control to overcome such a huge (forgive my pun) problem. However, if you have that much time and money invested in your well-being, you’d better be putting forth very considerable effort.

That doesn’t mean smoking and eating burritos and junk food.

So call me uncompassionate, I don’t care. I have plenty of compassion, just not for people who exploit the government and slap taxpayers in the face.

Patrick Deuel has not only a responsibility, but an OBLIGATION to lose weight. He evoked the sympathy of South Dakotans through the constant media coverage and the ongoing “battle” he was fighting. He cannot just turn around and forget about the people who helped him get to where he is today. He’d be dead without them.

Going home and slacking off is just plain insulting to the staff of McKennan, the people who spent the time reading his newspaper articles, and the people who funded his well-being.

Responsibility, it’s the name of the game- and it looks like Patrick Deuel has fouled out.

Roxy Hammond is a sophomore journalism major.