Like the world’s heaviest woman until her recent surgery, the world’s heaviest man is all set to undergo the surgery that will save his life. In both instances, doctors aim to bring their weight down to below 100 kg – from their previous 500+ kg!
- Franco weighed over half a ton – equivalent to a Mini Cooper
- Bedridden for six years, had to bring along his own bed to hospital
- Equipment from local zoo was used to monitor his weight loss progress
- Lost 175 kg to qualify for surgery
- Wants to walk, drive, sing, dance like any normal person
The world’s heaviest man, Juan Pedro Franco from Mexico, is now ready for a biliopancreatic bypass surgery that would give him a shot at halving his weight – a whopping 595 kg – and a normal life.
Franco first made world headlines in November 2016 when pictures emerged of him being transported from his home in Aguascalientes to the Gastric Bypass Mexico hospital in Guadalajara. about 161 km away. He was aided by his relatives as well as doctors and paramedics to get on to a one-tonne truck specially equipped with resuscitation equipment and an oxygen tank.
His custom-made bed at home was also dismantled and went along with him – the medical facility couldn’t accommodate his massive girth.
The 32-year-old man tipped the scales at 595 kg nearly six months ago after his admission to the hospital which specialises in surgical solutions for obesity.
A healthy, normal 3.4 kg baby at birth, Franco reached nearly 64 kg by the time he turned six.
According to his mother, her son was overweight, but active as a boy who played the guitar, sang in a choir and liked kicking a football around.
“He was a good cumbia dancer and had two or three girlfriends,” María de Jesús Salas told the newspaper El Universal.
She said that his health and obesity worsened after he was involved in a road accident at the age of 17, which left him bedridden for two years; his weight then escalated to over 300 kg, though he could still move about then.
The situation worsened when Franco contracted pneumonia seven years ago, which left him in a temporary coma, connected to a respirator and taking more than 20 pills daily. Since then, he’s been completely bedridden; lack of medical care and funds to maintain a proper diet and medicines to keep his weight down saw his weight ballooning further.
Out of desperation, Franco contacted a weight-loss clinic in July last year after responding to their online advertisement.
In a press statement, Franco said, “I never knew what was happening to me. My body just followed its own path without any control whatsoever. I tried to diet day after day, but nothing worked and I became desperate. Finally, my body suffered a bad reaction and I was in a coma for a while, waking up in bed from where I haven’t moved since.”
“This is no life; the worst sentence you can give a human being is to make a prison of his own body,” said Franco.
Upon admission to the hospital, he weighed in at 95 kg more than the doctors estimated at 500 kg and had type 2 diabetes, thyroid problems, hypertension and liquid in his lungs.
“He is probably only still alive due to his youth,” said Dr José Castañeda, the hospital’s director.
“It’s impossible for the human body to cope with the pathologies Juan Pedro suffers from over a prolonged period, but I think we are just in time,” he added.
Franco was put on a special weight loss treatment to stabilise his body before the life-saving surgery could be carried out.
“Given that no specialised medical equipment is made for patients of Franco’s weight, we will be performing all necessary studies with equipment borrowed from the Guadalajara zoo,” said the physician.
Pedro’s weight loss of 175 kg as of last week meant he is now ready to undergo the 20-minute surgery.
For the past five days before the surgery set for 9 May, intense tests have been going on to prepare Pedro for the operation.
The surgery is aimed at reducing Franco’s weight by at least 50 per cent before a second operation can be done to further reduce his weight.
Franco’s surgery comes after 37-year-old Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, an Egyptian woman believed to have been the world’s heaviest woman at 495 kg, left hospital on 4 May, 242 kg lighter from weight-loss surgery in India. The Mumbai hospital and doctors treated Eman without charge, while a Save Eman fund-raising campaign is helping towards her other expenses.
Eman had been bedridden for more than 10 years. Her passage from her home in Alexandria to Mumbai had involved transporting her by cranes, specially strengthened trucks and specially fitted cargo planes.
She was transferred to Abu Dhabi for further treatment and to recuperate, and will remain there a year.
Updated: Eman passed away on Sept 25 from, among other complications, heart and kidney failure.
As for the optimistic Franco, he said, “I’m looking forward to going out again, driving again, singing. That’s what I like doing. God willing, I’ll be able to do all those things in the future.”
Cruelly nicknamed “Gordo”, meaning “fatty” in school, Franco also urged other people with the same problem “to raise their voice and ask for help since it is possible”.
Final target weight for Juan Pedro Franco, an accomplished guitar player, in one a half year’s time? Less than 100 kg!
For those who have excess weight problems, be inspired by Franco – no problem is so big that it cannot be solved if you are determined to address it and seek help, if necessary. Franco, literally, had a mountain of problems, but he never gave up hope to live a healthier, fitter and happier life, so don’t ever quit, too.