Yes, you read that right. A character known as the Caveman will have an appeal heard in Norway’s Supreme Court. And like any self-respecting caveman, the 56-year-old, who appears only to go by the name ‘Caveman’, at least in press records, is fighting for his right to be filthy. This is not a pretty story.
This is in fact the second time this battle goes to the Supreme Court. The first resulted in a decision that the entire process of trials and appeals restart since the Caveman had not testified himself. It all started in 2006, when despite his relatively young age, the Caveman was moved into a nursing home due to his poor condition, brought on by years of exposure and physical neglect.
He earned his name the hard way – by living for 27 years alone in a garbage-lined earth pit near the University of Oslo. During this time he took no real care of himself, including no washing. Now, he is continuing his battle to be allowed not to be washed against his will, while institution staff have argued that he poses a health threat. So far, the courts have sided with personal freedom.
How filthy is he? Brace yourself. When he once needed to be hospitalized in 2000, attending ambulance staff needed to wear full-cover body suits, rubber gloves and face masks, and transported him in a sack. The ambulance had to be totally disinfected after the ride.
And now, how filthy is he in care, after the occasional forced cleaning that set off the legal duel? Well, it isn’t just a wash he opposes, he also refuses to have any of his sores tended, or bandages changed. He has previously had to have his sores cleared of maggots. They might have taken the man out of the cave, but they are not going to force their lifestyle decisions on him.
VG reports that experienced nurses call his wounds ‘the worst they have ever seen’ His legal argument continues to be that his physical condition is his choice and impacts him – a viewpoint those who have to deal with him and the stench around him continue to dispute.
Soon he will get his final day in court, and a ruling on whether he can continue to exercise full jurisdiction over his body in this institutional setting.
Some original New in English reports about the Caveman and his legal battle: