Gayle Laverne Grinds, died at 40, after surgeons failed at a six-hour attempt to dislodge her from her couch. Her home was a filthy mess, according to workers, because Grinds had become too large to even get up and use the bathroom. Rescue workers were called in by her brother and girlfriend, who informed them that she was having “emphysema problems” and breathing trouble.
Her preliminary autopsy listed her death as due to “morbid obesity” but officials were still investigating based on the circumstances in her house.
Herman Thomas, a man who lived with her, told investigators that he did his best to take care of the four-foot ten inch Grinds. He had tried effortlessly to get her out of the chair in vain. No charges had been filed yet on him but officials were looking into issues of negligence. Trash was scattered all over the floor and the walls were matted with feces. Pictures had been knocked off walls and furniture was toppled.
Workers who entered the house had to wear protective gear. They blast in fresh air into the house to reduce the stench that was so powerful. Removing Grinds from the couch turned into a painful ordeal since her body had become one with the chair’s fabric after years of staying put on it. They therefore opted to surgically remove her from the chair.
After several failed attempts at creating a stretcher to carry Grinds and her couch, the rescue workers removed some sliding glass patio doors at the back of the house. This created a 6-foot opening through which they could get her and her chair out of the house. Getting her onto the ambulance proved a difficult job too and they had to slide the couch with Grinds still attached to it onto a trailer that was attached to a pickup truck.
She died still attached to the sofa at the Martin Memorial Hospital South. Her neighbors had seen Thomas and some kids around the house but they had no idea she lived there. Unidentified relatives who were at the scene were upset by the situation.