Morbidly obese four-year-old boy who had drastic weight-loss surgery loses 30 pounds

Published: May 16, 2014

In this 2013 file photo, Calcutta’s Rishi Khatau (4) poses at the Asian Bariatrics in Ahmedabad on September 11, before he underwent surgery to remove 70 per cent of his stomach. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

VANCOUVER DESI

A five-year-old boy in India who was so overweight he became one of the youngest patients to undergo surgery to cut away 70 per cent of his stomach fat, is finally on his way to reaching a normal weight, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.

Last September, Calcutta’s Rishi Khatau weighed a whopping 98 pounds, which only allowed him to fit into adult sized shirts and 36 inch waist pants. The toddler was so overweight he could only sleep lying down for ten minutes at a time before he’d wake up in the night, gasping for air, his parents told the Daily Mail.

“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 father Dipen Khatau said.

According to the Daily Mail, Rishi was first born underweight, so his parents overfed him. By the time they tried to cut back his food intake he would only cry and scream for more – until he weighed nearly 100 pounds.

After a number of failed diet attempts, Khatau finally took his son to a doctor where he was diagnosed with Prader Willi syndrome, which meant his body was unable to properly burn calories.

The doctor suggested a gastrectomy – a surgery that partially removes the stomach, commonly performed to treat cancer or stomach perforations. But in Rishi’s case, it was a drastic alternative to gastric bypass.

Out of options, the family obliged and saved up more than $5,000 for the surgery.

Last fall Rishi was admitted to hospital for the two-hour procedure and today, six months later, he weighs 70 pounds and is able to sleep through the night and play cricket and cycle with friends.

“It makes me very happy that my son is losing the weight and getting his life back,” said Khatau. “I was terrified we’d made the wrong decision going for the surgery but now we know it was the right choice. I see my son swimming, cycling and running and enjoying life again. That is a wonderful feeling.”

While the family acknowledged the procedure was a drastic and dangerous route, they believe it was their only option.

“We had no other way of saving our son,” Rishi’s mother Henna Khatau told the Daily Mail. “He was slowly dying and we had tried diets and failed. The doctor told us his condition was serious, surgery was our last hope.”

“I hated being so scared that my son wouldn’t see his next birthday. I was terrified all the time. We had to do something to save him.”

According to the Daily Mail, Rishi now has 14 pounds to lose before he’s considered a normal weight for a five-year-old child.

View more photos of Rishi’s progress at the Daily Mail.

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