Riyadh obesity center to open after 610-kg man spotlighted

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Saudi Arabia is going to set up a National Center for Obesity Treatment, Director General of King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) Mahmoud al-Yamani said on Tuesday.

He made the announcement at a press conference called to brief the media on the treatment plan for Khaled Mohsen Shaeri, the 610-kg man who was airlifted on Monday from Jazan to Riyadh on the instructions of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.


King Abdullah wished a quick recovery and good health to Shaeri. Shaeri’s case prompted the establishment of the center, the idea of which was already under consideration, al-Yamani said.

“Yesterday (Monday) while visiting Shaeri, Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah al-Rabeeah ordered the establishment of the center,” he said.

The center will start treating Shaeri and other obese patients in the Kingdom, he said, adding that it will soon transform into a center of excellence because “we have the will and the resources.”

The case of Shaeri is unique, said Ayedh al-Qahtani, head of the medical team treating one of the heaviest people in the world.

According to Guinness World Records, the record weight for a living person is held by Manuel Uribe of Mexico, who weighed 560kg in 2006.

Dr. al-Qahtani said that Shaeri was born to normal parents, but two of his 10 brothers and sisters were obese.

One weighed 150 kg and the other 100 kg. Thus Shaeri had 30 percent chances of developing obesity.

Shaeri was born normal but when he was one year old he developed insulinoma (tumor of the pancreas) because of which around 90% of his pancreas was removed.

The excessive use of insulin to substitute for the hormone produced by the pancreas from the early age might have made him prone to obesity, said Dr. al-Qahtani.

Explaining the treatment plan, he said it will proceed in phases, starting with rehabilitation. Attempts will be made to make him loose between 15 kg and 30 kg of weight every month. If this does not work, the final resort will be surgery.

A member of the transfer team and consultant in emergency cases, Dr. Abdularahman al-Qahtani, told Saudi Gazette that Shaeri was normal till three years of age when he was bed-ridden for some time due to ankle sprain.

Head of transfer team Dr. Badr al-Otaibi said the transfer process was very complex. For the safety of the patient and his successful transfer, a drill was conducted before the real transfer operation took place.

Responding to a question from Saudi Gazette on who was taking care of Shaeri all these years while he was confined to his bed, Dr. al-Otaibi said that it was his mother who took care of all his needs.

“She is a great woman. Since the time of the illness of her son, she served him with all patience and dedication. She used to take care of his sanitation, bathing and feeding,” he said.

Deputy Health Minister for Therapeutic Services Dr. Abdulaziz Humaidhi said that Shaeri also had an uncomplaining and contented father.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on August 21, 2013

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