Fla. -- A dramatic rescue ended tragically in Stuart,
Florida, a rescue so difficult firefighters say they
have never seen anything like it.
It happened late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning
at the home of a 600-pound woman who was having trouble
breathing. Rescuers went in not knowing how difficult
it would be to get her out. 40-year-old Gail Grinds
was literally stuck to her couch and had to be removed
surgically at the hospital.
Authorities estimate she had been on
the couch anywhere from two to five years.
Martin County Fire amd Rescue crews
faced what seemed to be an impossible mission. Everyone
going inside had to wear protective gear. The stench
was so powerful they had to blast in fresh air.
They tried to cut out the front door, but at four-and-a-half
feet wide, it wouldn't work. They had to cut plywood
since a normal stretcher wouldn't do.
An ambulance was too small, so they
brought in a trailer to get her out. While rescue crews
came up with a back-door rescue plan, detectives secured
what had become a crime scene, questioning family members
about how it got so bad.
Using planks, they loaded the woman
on to the trailer, still attached to the couch. Removing
her would be too painful, since her body is grafted
to the fabric. After years of staying put, her skin
has literally become one with the sofa and it must be
Detectives are investigating whether
they have a case of neglect, or if it is simply a very
Grinds was taken to the Martin Memorial
hospital where doctors removed her from the couch, but
she died in spite of all the attempts to save her life.