8-year-old takes first steps after two bariatric ops

MUMBAI: Twenty days after becoming the youngest to undergo bariatric surgery for the second time, eight-year-old has lost around seven kilos and is learning how to walk. Zoya’s first surgery was conducted in November 2011 when she was just 11 months old and weighed 18 kg.

However, she gained weight again and became 37.9 kg, almost 15 kg more than other children her age, when her parents decided on the second surgery, which was conducted at MPCT Hospital in Sanpada on December 15.

“We are happy that our child is confident enough to try and stand on her feet,” said her parents Taj Khatoom and Yusuf Khan. Five times a day, Zoya uses a walker to take a few steps on the hospital floor. Her physiotherapist, Deepali Rathod, said Zoya’s leg muscles would need months of training to be able to bear her weight.

Dr. Prince Surana of MPCT Hospital said Zoya’s treatment had already touched Rs 10 lakh. “Apart from the medical expenses, we have designed special calipers that help her to stand with elbow support and she has been able to stand for eight to 10 minutes at a stretch,’’ he said.

The hospital will continue to support Zoya’s rehabilitation, including two-hour physiotherapy sessions every day over the next few months.

According to her mother, Taj Khatoom, Zoya has never walked in her life and she has had to carry her everywhere. “We now realise that Zoya can’t be fed continuously like we used to. Also, she needs to undergo physiotherapy sessions every day,” she added.

Mohit Bhandari, the bariatric surgeon who operated on Zoya this time, said he expects her to lose another seven to 10 kg over the next three to six months. “However, we are not chasing numbers. The priority is to ensure that she learns how to walk and manages to go to school as she wants to,” he said.

Zoya’s sleep apnea problem seems to have disappeared after the revision surgery. “She doesn’t snore anymore and neither does she wake up due to breathlessness,” said Dr. Bhandari.

Zoya’s father Yusuf, who makes toys for a living, said he has, at last, understood the importance of diet for his child’s development. “We will do our best to ensure Zoya sticks to the diet and rehabilitation,” he said. Zoya’s parents and two sisters have been staying in the hospital room for the last 20 days.

MPCT Hospital doctors said it was important to conduct the surgery as any delay would have seriously impacted her health. Dr Bhandari said, “She could have had developed active chest infections, severe sleep apnea and would have become completely immobile and unable to walk later.” The doctors said it is now possible to strengthen her bones and muscles and make efforts to make her mobile.

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Mumbai Live

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