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29-yr-old operated in Mumbai upon to rectify seven fused organs

The 29-year-old's problems began three years ago. 'She was obese at 128kg, suffered from Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hypothyroid,' Dr Vishal Chopra, diabetologist at Hiranandani Hospital, said.

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Deepa Suryanarayan

Updated: Jun 24, 2010, 12:18 AM IST

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Deepa Joseph of Thane thanks god and doctors every day for giving her a new lease of life.

After all, how many people can boast of having their oesophagus, diaphragm, stomach, spleen, gall bladder, small and large intestine ‘remodified’ in a 10-hour surgery and live to tell the tale?

The 29-year-old's problems began three years ago. "She was obese at 128kg, suffered from Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hypothyroid," Dr Vishal Chopra, diabetologist at Hiranandani Hospital, said. "She underwent bariatric surgery (sleeve gastrectomy, where a part of her stomach was reduced to about 15% of its original size) in August 2008."

But something went wrong. Though Joseph lost 55kg in six months and brought her diabetes, thyroid, and blood pressure under control, she developed a hole just below her heart.

“Whatever she ate came out through this fistula (hole),” Dr Shashank Shah, bariatric surgeon at Hiranandani Hospital, said. Also, there was infection, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of immunity, lung infection, and pneumonia, Shah said. "Such a problem can happen after any intestinal operation. Usually, it is diagnosed and treated immediately after surgery."

The hospital did not want to comment if the first surgery had gone wrong. Also, the authorities did not want to name the doctor who performed the surgery.

There were at least seven attempts to rectify Joseph's problem before Shah and his team carried out the surgery on January 13. These multiple attempts led to a fusion of several of her organs.

"Part of the oesophagus, stomach, upper part of the diaphram and lower part of the heart and the left lung were fused together," Shah said. "The lower part the liver, major vessels supplying the liver and intestines, pancreas, large intestine, small intestine, and spleen had meshed together and shifted from their original location."

A large part of the food pipe, stomach, diaphragm, spleen and gall bladder had to be removed. "I had to carefully release the intestines that were clubbed together and reconnect her modified oesophagus to her stomach," Shah said. Joseph now weighs 72kg and her diabetes too is cured.

“For the past six months I have been living like there is no tomorrow," Joseph said.  A month ago, Joseph joined a consultancy firm. Her parents are now busy looking for a match.

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