Bedridden butcher, 40, pleads with doctors to amputate his leg weighing 294lbs after parasitic infection made his limb swell
- Muhammad Mushtaq has suffered from elephantiasis for the past two years
- Caused his left leg to swell to more than ten times its normal size
- Forced him to give up work and depend on his relatives to meet his ‘basic needs’
A man who has been left bedridden due to his gigantic leg is pleading with doctors to amputate the limb.
Muhammad Mushtaq has elephantiasis – caused by a parasitic infection that stops the lymphatic system from draining unwanted fluid and toxins from its tissues.
This has caused the 40-year-old’s left leg to swell to ten times its normal size over the past two years. It now weighs in at an enormous 330lbs (150kg).
The former butcher, who was forced to give up work, now relies on his brother and sister-in-law to meet his ‘basic needs’.
Mr Mushtaq, of Gujranwala, Pakistan, claims a local doctor said surgery to treat his leg could be deadly.
He is now appealing to his government to pay for him to see another medic, even if it means being told his only option is amputation.
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Muhammad Mushtaq (pictured) has been left bedridden due to his 21st 4lbs leg
Mr Mushtaq suffers from elephantiasis, which occurs when the lympathic system becomes impaired due to a parasitic infection. Pictured before the ordeal, he used to work as a butcher
Speaking of his condition, Mr Mushtaq said: ‘This is extremely painful for me, I have to depend on others for my basic needs.
‘I am locked in my room the entire day and I need the help of six people to lift me because of my weight.’
Mr Mushtaq’s gigantic leg combined with his inactive lifestyle has caused him to balloon to an obese 658lbs (298kg).
Mr Mushtaq – who recently lost his parents – first noticed a lump on his leg two years ago.
After ignoring it for three months, the mass rapidly grew until he was unable to hide it under clothes.
‘I was living a normal life until two years ago,’ Mr Mushtaq said. ‘I noticed a small lump around my left thigh just below the hips.
‘It was very small at first and because of the fear of embarrassment, I didn’t show it to anyone.
‘Gradually it started growing and within three months it grew so big I couldn’t hide it anymore.
‘I went to see a local family doctor who asked me to go to Lahore or Karachi for proper check-up.’
Mr Mushtaq traveled 50miles (80km) from his hometown to the Mayo Clinic in the city of Lahore, Punjab.
He claims doctors said his condition was so severe that surgery could be life-threatening.
‘I was highly disappointed when doctors told me surgery could kill me,’ Mr Mushtaq said.
‘They gave me medicines to treat [a] fungal infection but said there was no way to treat the condition as the infection had reached the veins and I could lose blood in surgery.’
Mr Mushtaq (pictured while ridden with elephantiasis) has been told surgery could be life-threatening. He hopes another doctor will help but accepts amputation may be necessary
Mr Mushtaq’s leg began to swell two years ago when he noticed a lump around his hip. It is now ten times its normal size, leaving him dependent on his relatives to meet his ‘basic needs’
Mr Mushtaq leg is ‘extremely painful’ and has left him ‘depressed’
Mr Mushtaq’s neighbour Dr Ruman-ul-Haq is helping him get in touch with specialists who may be able to treat his condition.
‘Mr Mushtaq lives in my neighbourhood and I have known him since my childhood,’ Dr Ruman-ul-Haq said.
‘He was depressed after doctors told him his operation is not possible as it could be life-threatening and surgery could lead to blood loss.
‘We have heard of Professor Naushad from Civil Hospital in Karachi who treated a similar patient.
‘This has given Mohammed hope that we will find his treatment somewhere.’
Mr Mushtaq added: ‘If there is no treatment that can save my leg that’s fine, I want my 21-stone leg amputated if that’s the case though.
‘I’m appealing to the government to provide me treatment.’
WHAT IS ELEPHANTIASIS?
Elephantiasis is defined as an impaired lymphatic system, resulting in abnormal enlargements of the body due to by a parasite infection from a mosquito bite.
Nearly 856 million people in 52 countries worldwide are at risk of developing elephantiasis, which is also known as lymphatic filariasis.
In 2000 over 120 million people were infected, of which around 40 million were disfigured and incapacitated by the disease.
Infection usually occurs during childhood.
This can result in tissue or scrotal swelling, as well as tissue thickening, in later life, leading to permanent disability and social isolation.
Elephantiasis is caused by adult parasitic worms lodging in the lymphatic system. Their larvae then further add to this problem.
Preventative chemotherapy can stop the spread of the infection by reducing the number of parasites in infected people’s bloodstreams.
Scrotal swelling is treatable via surgery.
Elephantiasis can be stopped from becoming worse by practicing good hygiene, exercising and elevating affected limbs.
Source: World Health Organization