Associated Press Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. When an ambulance brought Daniel Webb home from the hospital after he hurt his knee in March, paramedics warned the then 550-pound man he probably wouldn't be able to get up from his recliner if they put him there, his wife said.
Webb told them to leave him there anyway. He would sit in that recliner, slowly dying, for the next eight months. Finally, paramedics were called back to his Greenwood home on Wednesday because he was in a lot of pain.
Webb's body was physically stuck to the power recliner and firefighters had to cut him from the chair to take him to the hospital. He died a few hours later, his body covered with sores and a "very bad odor," according to a police report.
Webb, 33, didn't ask for help for all those months, because he was ashamed and didn't have health insurance, said his wife, Ada. He slept and used the bathroom in his chair and she cleaned it every day. The former preacher would post sermons online from the chair, and it wasn't long before he decided he was ready to go home to the Lord, she said.
"After he sat there in that one spot for a week, he was embarrassed. It was like he already knew what was going to happen," Ada Webb said.
Webb's mother was the one who placed the final call to paramedics. Not only did crews have to cut apart the chair, but they had to cut a hole in the wall of the couple's mobile home about 70 miles west of Columbia to get him out. A police report said he weighed about 800 pounds, but his wife said he was closer to 500 pounds.
The hospital told Daniel Webb's wife he died from a heart attack, she said. The coroner's office isn't investigating the death and referred all questions to Greenwood County deputies, who sent their report, but didn't respond to a phone message.
Webb died on the couple's second anniversary. They met four years ago on MySpace, and Ada Webb said she didn't see a man who weighed more than 500 pounds, but instead saw a guy who loved the Lord and had a big heart.
"I had the worst anniversary yesterday I ever had, but I know he had the best one he ever had because he's with Jesus now," she said.
Daniel Webb drove school buses for nearly 15 years, until his weight made it impossible. His health kept getting worse, and Ada Webb said she begged hospital officials to keep him after doctors treated his knee injury in March. But the couple had no way to pay and were sent home.
For his first few weeks home, Daniel Webb was open to the idea of seeing someone. Getting to them was the problem.
"Everybody kept telling us, if you get here, we'll help you. We didn't have no way of getting him up, and nobody was willing to come help us," Ada Webb said. "He just kind of said, 'it's in God's hands' at that point."
Daniel Webb spent the rest of his days playing with his four dogs and talking about religion to other people on the Internet.
"I did all I could for him. He loved me with a passion," his wife said. "The only reason he held on to life here was for his family because he wanted to go home and be with the Lord."