RAK, UAE: The family of an obese father of three who died after having an operation to help him lose weight have told how important exercise and healthy eating are.
Akram Hamdan, a Palestinian father of a five-year-old son and two daughters under five, was 36 when he died last month, two weeks after opting for bariatric surgery to help him lose weight.
He weighed more than 220 kilograms when he died.
Akram’s brother, Mohammed, said his sibling was eating too much and not being active enough.
“I advise all people to exercise, because it is for health and body and any person will absolutely lose weight, whatever his weight, because all of that is fat,” he said. “But they prefer to have this kind of surgery because it is easier and faster. And when they have the surgery, they won’t have fitness.”
Akram was a salesman at the Toyota showroom in RAK and had struggled with his weight in recent years.
He felt that having bariatric surgery, a general term for weight loss surgery, which included reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or removing a portion of the stomach, was the only way to curtail his eating habits.
“Six years ago, Akram was fat but not as now. Before his wedding he used to walk for about 15 kilometres and started dieting and weighted about 100kg,” his 32-year-old brother said.
“But after three years of marriage, he started again gaining too much weight. When he became above 220kg, he was not able to walk more than 10 steps. He had difficulty driving a car and carrying his kids.
“He was eating everything, such as sandwiches and junk food. He used to eat three meals per day with snacks like chocolate, chips and sweets. After all of that, he used to have three or four sandwiches at midnight and sleep instantly.”
Mr Hamdan urged Akram to have the surgery after Ramadan, so he would be used to eating less, but he refused because he was depressed that his weight was also affecting his job.
“The doctor was supposed to advise him to lose around 30kg before the surgery and, even though he asked him to stop eating meat, eggs, bread and rice, the doctor decided from Akram’s first visit to do the surgery,” Mr Hamdan said.
Akram had the surgery, which cost him Dh22,000, on May 12 and left the hospital when his condition was stable. The day before he died, on May 26, he felt a minor pain in his stomach and it started increasing at night, his mother said.
“In the beginning, he was only suffering from dizziness, because he was just eating liquid food, but when he had a pain in his belly, we thought it is a normal symptom, and we did not expect he will die after that pain,” said the mother.
Akram died two days before his 37th birthday at Saqr Hospital in RAK.
Dr Girish Juneja, the director of the bariatric centre at Al Zahra Hospital, in Dubai, said that the surgery was generally safe.
“In experienced hands, it is safe and a routine procedure,” he said. “You should choose a surgeon who is doing these procedures routinely. Preoperative preparation also makes this surgery very safe.” He added that it was possible to operate on someone Akram’s size safely.
© The NationalJun 2016