(WSVN) - His goal is to lose weight. To get the surgery he needs, he has to have transportation to get to the doctors. But his insurance company won’t provide the type of van he wants. Do they have to? It’s why he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Marquis is a big man. A very big man.

Marquis Gay: “Right now, about 600, give or take.”

He has been large his whole life.

Marquis Gay: High school? I could’ve been like 300. 300, 350. I don’t know.”

As an adult, he kept gaining weight until he reached 600 pounds.

Marquis Gay: “It all gradually happened, man. Just being lazy and not doing much. I don’t blame nobody. I mean, I’m lazy. I well, I used to be active.”

Now he can barely walk-.

Marquis Gay: Life, it sucks right now.”

And so Marquis is ready to make a change.

Marquis Gay: “To lose weight. To regain life. To regain freedom. To celebrate what my body can do.”

Marquis wants to get gastric bypass surgery to help him lose weight.

To do that, he has doctors appointments. And to transport him, his insurance company sends out four guys who put him on a stretcher and load him into an ambulance, then to his appointment where, he says, people stare at the guy on a stretcher.

Marquis Gay: “It’s embarrassing because I feel like I should be at at least have some suitable transportation.”

Another problem, Marquis says some offices won’t accept a patient on a stretcher.

Marquis Gay: “I get a little frustrated.”

Marquis asked his insurance company to send a van like this that he can drive up into.

Marquis Gay: “They, they said they don’t, they don’t do that. You can go in a stretcher.”

Marquis is on disability. With limited money he had to save up awhile to pay $400 to rent the van to get to a doctor who won’t accept a patient on a stretcher.

He doesn’t like to be carried like this. He can’t afford to travel like this.

Marquis Gay: “Well, I want to get to my appointments in a wheelchair without being in a stretcher.”

But Howard, does Marquis have the legal right to tell his insurance company how to transport him to the doctor?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: Legally, this is too close to call. On the insurance company’s side, the stretcher is a reasonable accommodation. But on Marquis’s side, he would say the wheelchair and ramp is both safe and maintains his dignity. If this went to court, even judges would disagree with who is right.”

We contacted Marquis’ insurance company. Their corporate office sent a statement, basically saying Marquis had to go in a stretcher because of his weight, writing “to travel in a medical transportation unit that is equipped with a ramp or hydraulic lift, there are regulations and a threshold pertaining to the combined weight of the patient and their wheelchair.”

They apparently believe a stretcher is safer.

Marquis Gay: “So that’s really it. Just one day at a time.”

Marquis wanted to be transported in a wheelchair. That failed, but he says he won’t fail in his plan to lose weight.

Marquis Gay: “It took a lot to get like this so it’s going to take a lot of effort to get out of it.”

Marquis has a goal to lose a lot of that weight. Getting there on a stretcher is just another hurdle for him. Good luck, young man.

A problem stretched you out? Wanna move that weight out of your life? Transport yourself to us. Let us do the heavy lifting.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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