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Bariatric surgery is not an option for Gujarat siblings

Bariatric surgery helped Eman Ahmed, a severely obese Egyptian woman who weighed 500kg shed about half her weight

mumbai Updated: May 06, 2017 11:00 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Bariatric surgery helped Eman Ahmed, a severely obese Egyptian woman who weighed 500kg shed about half her weight.
Bariatric surgery helped Eman Ahmed, a severely obese Egyptian woman who weighed 500kg shed about half her weight.(HT FILE)

Bariatric surgery, which helped Eman Ahmed, a severely obese Egyptian woman who weighed 500kg shed about half her weight, can’t be performed on the three obese Nandwana siblings from Gujarat, or on four other children with the same condition who have approached Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, the doctor who operated on Eman.

HT reported yesterday that Ramesh and Pradnya Nandwana, from Una district in Gujarat, have sought help from Dr Lakdawala for their three children – seven-year-old Yogita, who weighs 45kg; five-year-old Anisha, who weighs 68kg; and their three-year-old brother Harsh, who weighs 25kg. Apart from them, the parents of four more children, two from the same village as the Nandwanas and two from Maharashtra, have also asked him for help.

However, Dr Lakdawala said, “We don’t operate on paediatric patients because bariatric surgery is not the solution for genetically induced obesity in children. The only option is an experimental drug called MC4R Agonist, which is only available from a pharmaceutical company in the US.”

“The drug is still at the trial stage and may not even cure Eman and the children, but it’s the only option for them. If need be, we will speak with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials and the state health department and ask them to allow the trial once we get a go-ahead from the US firm,” said Dr Lakdawala.

He added that in some of the cases, marriages between blood relatives could have caused the genetic mutations.

Two months after undergoing treatment in Mumbai, Eman weight has halved. But Dr Lakdawala told HT that, while all her health problems have been taken care of to a great extent, her neurological complications are yet to be checked.

“Her thyroid problems, which earlier weren’t even recordable, are under control. Her partial heart failure has been cleared and her creatinine (a chemical waste produced in the body as by-product of normal muscle function) levels are normal,” said Dr Lakdawala.

However, four neurological drugs Eman is taking keep her sedated, making it difficult to diagnose whether she is suffering from depression. “Because of the sudden weight loss, her body is weak and her neurological problems are restricting the movement of her limbs,” added Dr Lakdawala.

Doctors are now waiting for her weight to come down to 200kg so that she can undergo a CT scan, which will help diagnose the effects of a stroke she suffered three years ago. “Because of the stroke, she still gets seizures and is partially paralysed. But her neurologist believes that her line of treatment is correct,” said Dr Lakdawala.

He added that this would take six more months as the US firm wants to wait and see the results of Eman’s surgery as their drug has previously been used on only three paediatric patients.

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