Chennai, Dec. 1: So weighty was the problem that even the airport had to play a part in the surgery.
Not to mention the 1.5-tonne crane and the six-hook tarpaulin sheet that gently lowered the pastor on the operation table.
The “Himalayan” efforts, as the doctors put it, didn’t go in vain. Father Joshi Kumar Shetty can now walk on his own, slimmer — maybe a tad paler — after forfeiting 12kg from the 220 he had before going under the scalpel.
“We have done our best to get him back on his feet,” said Dr D. Suresh, who led the surgery that lasted nearly seven hours.
Eleven days ago, he wasn’t even sure how to get the 47-year-old from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to the operation theatre.
When the special ambulance carrying the pastor reached the gates of Chennai’s Amma Hospitals, Suresh and his fellow doctors realised there was no way the Vijayawada resident could walk to the surgery ward.
Everything seemed weighted against the surgery.
Then somebody weighed in with a suggestion. Soon, a battery- operated mini-truck from the Chennai airport was carrying Shetty to the ward.
But another problem cropped up. How to take Shetty from his room to the operation theatre'
No hospital stretcher could bear the weight. And the wheelchairs were too “fragile”.
There was only one way — a tarpaulin sheet and a crane.
Shetty was administered anaesthesia and laid on the huge tarpaulin sheet with six hooks, while the crane helped place him on the surgical table, Suresh said.
Nearly seven hours later, the crane again lifted Shetty back to his ward after the operation was over.
Suresh, who is the private hospital’s director, said the weight-reducing surgery — or sleeve resection of the stomach — used lasers to remove five-sixth of Shetty’s stomach.
This would automatically reduce the patient’s daily intake of food and Shetty may now have to be content with a frugal diet of just one idli a day.
“It is a costly surgical procedure and could go up to Rs 2 lakh depending on the severity of the case,” Suresh told The Telegraph tonight.
Suresh said the operation was successful and Shetty could walk on his own now. He had shed 12kg, the doctor added. “We will be discharging him in two or three days.”
Over time, Suresh hopes Shetty will reduce to 80kg. That would still be at least 10kg more than what the five-foot-five-inch pastor’s weight should be, he said.
But 80kg is better than 220. At least, he won’t have the feeling of being weighed down.