An overweight 4-year-old in India recently underwent a controversial surgery that removed 70 percent of his stomach. Sadly, Rishi Khatau was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a condition that didn't allow his body to properly burn calories, and by the time he reached 4-years-old, he weighed 98 pounds. Rishi's parents tried putting their son on every diet in the book, but nothing worked. He was constantly hungry, regardless of what he ate. But hunger and weight gain weren't the only issues. "He was so fat he could only sleep lying down for 10 minutes before he'd wake up in the night," his father Dipen said. "He had severe breathing issues and he was always gasping for breath. We feared he wouldn't be alive for his next birthday."
Rishi's parents felt that the last resort to help their son was surgery. So they had their toddler undergo gastrectomy, making him one of the youngest patients ever to receive such a procedure.
Of course there's nothing that parents want more than for their children to be healthy. It's heartbreaking for a parent to see a child who is unwell -- especially when it's serious, possibly life-threatening. But imagine the pressure and confusion parents must feel when the only possible "remedy" to their child's health issue is risky surgery? Surgery that's barely ever been done before? Surely, it's a time when instincts (and possibly necessity) kick in, but my gosh, it has to be a truly terrifying moment in a parent's life. And of course there will always be others who are trying to give advice, which may or may not help the situation.
At the end of the day, parents will always weigh their options and do what's best for their kid. In Rishi's case, although the surgery was risky (and, yes, they have received a lot of criticism), it wound up being the right decision. Rishi now weighs 70 pounds, is sleeping throughout the night, and playing sports with his friends. And as for his parents? They're, in a word, relieved, as any parent would be. "It makes me very happy that my son is losing the weight and getting his life back," Dipen said. I was terrified we'd made the wrong decision going for the surgery, but now we know it was the right choice."
Would you have had your child undergone this surgery?
Image via Corbis