Teretha Hollis-Neely is completely bedridden when she goes to the hospital for help

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated February 24, 2016 02:05 PM
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Credit: TLC

At over 700 lbs., Teretha Hollis-Neely hasn’t been able to stand up and get out of bed for two years.

After losing her job as a health coordinator who taught courses on how to eat healthfully, Hollis-Neely, 47, became depressed, and added to her already-growing weight. Now severely obese, she made a dangerous move from her home in Detroit, Michigan to stay in a hospital under the care of bariatric surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzaradan in Houston, Texas, in the hopes of saving her life.

But before any surgery can happen, Nowzaradan has to be able to weigh Hollis-Neely, a wife and mother, and get her to stand on a scale.

“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to get Teretha’s weight going back down in the right direction,” Nowzaradan says in an exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode of My 600-lb Life. “So we’re going to try to get her to stand up to check her weight and measure loose skin. But it’s going to take a lot to do this.”

“We need five to six people to hold her up so she doesn’t fall and end up on the floor,” he continues. “If she does, we won’t be able to get her up, and the stress could cause very serious complications to her condition. But this is something she needs to do if she wants her health to improve.”

“I don’t think I’m ready to do this,” says Hollis-Neely.

With a total of 12 staff helping her, they roll Hollis-Neely over and place an inflatable cushion underneath her body, so they can slide her over to a gurney that can lower her feet to the ground.

With her feet firmly placed on the floor, nine people work to help Hollis-Neely stand.

“Down down! I’m down. Just let me go down, please. I just can’t get back up,” she says.

“Teretha refused to put her weight on her legs,” says Nowzaradan. “The problem is, it hurt, so she thinks that means she shouldn’t do it. Her problem is in her head, she doesn’t want to try, and I’m very concerned about her now. She’s not making progress on her own so we have to do it for her. That has to change, because her body is not going to last much longer being immobile.”

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After a month in the hospital, Teretha managed to make it under 600 lbs., but her attitude is still holding her back.

“She started finding ways to get extra servings from the kitchen,” says Nowzaradan. “Now that she’s cheating and refusing to walk, there’s no reason to keep her in the hospital. She’s scared to live a life of eating what she wants and staying in bed all day.”

Now Nowzaradan is hoping that cracking the mental code that’s stopping Teretha from fully committing to weight loss will get her motivated.

“I’m sending her home, and I’m going to send a therapist to her house to ask why she’s unwilling to try.”

My 600-lb Life airs Wednesday nights at 9/8c on TLC.