Rhode Island man weighing 1,200 pounds placed in cargo container, removed from facility by crane, shipped to hospital via flatbed truck in massive operation BY Sasha Goldstein NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 11:18 AM turnto10.com Robert Bates was moved from a nursing home to a hospital in a complicated operation Sunday that took seven hours. A 1,200-pound Rhode Island man was hoisted by crane from his Providence nursing home, packed into a modified cargo container and shipped to a hospital on the back of a flatbed truck after the nursing facility, $2 million in debt, was forced to shutter. It took nearly seven hours Sunday to move Robert Butler just eight miles in a massive operation that began at the Bannister House in Providence and ended at his new home in Cranston. “This is a patient with very complicated medical needs and it’s required a coordinated approach across state government,” Michael Raia, of the state office of health and human services, told WJAR-TV. “His (Butler's) care and safety has been our top priority throughout this transport.” turnto10.com Authorities shipped Butler to his new home in a modified cargo container so he could ride in comfort to his new facility in Cranston. Butler spent nearly a decade at the beleaguered nursing home, during which time he gained approximately 300 pounds. The loneliness of his deadly situation put the morbidly obese man into a deep funk. “When I'm depressed I'll eat chips or order myself a large pizza and pretty much kill it myself,” Butler told the NBC affiliate in 2006. turnto10.com The crane was used to lift Butler from a deck on the four-story nursing home in Providence. At the time, he’d been moved to the nursing home as he tried to lose weight before he could have gastric bypass surgery. But he never lost the required pounds, instead packing on 300 more. And no doctor would agree to the surgery on such a heavy man, he said. Medicaid refused to pay for the operation. wpri The Bannister House is being shuttered after getting $2 million in debt. “It’s odd because the government will give me money to survive every month. But they won’t help me to get off disability,” Butler told WPRI-TV in 2006. “I want to work. I want to start a career again. I’m willing to chance dying on that operating table instead of dying in this bed.” Butler’s journey Sunday was an operation that took weeks to plan - and likely thousands of dollars. Officials would not disclose the cost, but it took a crowd to make the move. Firefighters widened the door of his room so he got get out, then built a ramp that allowed him to get onto a deck of the four-story building, WPRI reported. Authorities then placed the half-ton man into the medically modified container, lifted it by the crane and placed it on a flatbed truck for the journey, complete with an escort, down Interstate 95.