When doctors in Bhilai gave up on him, Satish Khichriya's family hired a private jet and had it turned into a makeshift ambulance to carry him to Mumbai
This man's journey of liberation from the unbearable heaviness of being involved two journeys in ambulances, and a 2-hour long flight in a refashioned private jet for weight-loss surgery.
But he didn't travel light. Even without any luggage, Satish Khichriya (50) a patient of obesity hypoventilation syndrome, weighed a whopping 200 kg.
Weight and watch: After undergoing sleeve mastectomy, Khichriya is
lighter by 10 kg, and on the road to recovery. Pic/Santosh Nagwekar
On October 19, Khichriya failed to raise himself from bed, complaining of acute breathlessness.
His worried relatives admitted him to a private hospital in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh where doctors diagnosed that his carbon dioxide levels had risen steeply to 70 units, against the average count of 25.
Khichriya was put on ventilator for five days, and every time his doctors tried to wean him off the ventilator, his carbon dioxide levels would rise dangerously.
"Doctors in Bhilai had lost hope, and informed us that his obesity was the chief cause of his increased carbon dioxide levels. His lung function had also been compromised. We were on the brink of despair, when doctors suggested that a weight-loss surgery might be the only solution," recalled Khichriya's daughter Sonal.
Jor lagake haiyya: 15 hospital and airport attendants huffed and puffed
for two hours to heave the obese man into the private jet.
Though a bariatric surgery offered the only faint ray of hope, there seemed to be insurmountable obstacles on the way.
To begin with, none of the doctors in Bhilai hospitals were willing to operate on him, fearing that his mammoth proportions would not allow him to regain consciousness from the effects of anaesthetics.
His family members then got in touch with bariatric surgeons in Mumbai, who agreed to perform the surgery on him.
The next hurdle that they faced was the transportation of the gigantic man to Mumbai's Saifee hospital.
It wasn't an easy task to accomplish, as his kin could not find an air ambulance that would accommodate his large frame.
"We searched high and low for a large air ambulance in which my dad would fit, as he was unconscious and on a ventilator. Finally, we decided to hire a private jet, which was refashioned to fit him and also carry all the necessary medical equipment. We opted for a powerful twin-engine jet to make the flight a speedy one, as we did not want him suspended mid-air for long. He was taken to and from the airports in large ambulances," said Sonal. Khichriya's flight to Mumbai alone cost the family Rs 4.5 lakh.
Huffing and puffing
On the day of the flight, 15-odd airport and hospital personnel struggled for two hours to shove Khichriya into the jet.
"Doctors in Bhilai could not give us his accurate body weight. I was told he weighed 300 kg, but we later weighed him at 200 kg. This was a special weight-loss surgery, as the patient was unconscious and on a ventilator. So we had to prepare him for surgery," said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, bariatric surgeon at Saifee hospital.
Though Khichriya was admitted to Saifee hospital on October 31, doctors were in no hurry to put him under the knife. "We first put him on liquid diet and gave him chest physiotherapy twice a day, so that his lungs would regain their function. When he was stable, we performed a sleeve mastectomy on November 10, in which a part of his stomach was surgically removed," said Lakdawala, adding that Khichriya had been diagnosed with obesity hypoventilation syndrome.
"I suffered three accidents in 10 years, which restricted my mobility. I got lazy and started to gain weight. God has given me a second chance, and I have resolved to be more active," said Khichriya, who is now lighter by 10 kg.