610kg Saudi man forklifted to hospital at King's expense

SAUDI ARABIA - A Saudi man weighing 610kg was taken to hospital on Monday for medical treatment to reduce his weight - at the expense of the country's monarch.

Mr Khaled Mohsin Shairi was flown from his south-western home town of Jizan to the King Fahd Medical City in capital Riyadh on a specially equipped plane.

Because of his size, Mr Khaled had not been able to leave his bedroom in 2½ years, and part of his home had to be torn down so that he could be taken out from the second storey, the Daily Mail reported.

Pictures of Mr Khaled during the operation show him being lifted on a forklift out of the plane on arrival in the capital.

Acting on orders of King Abdullah, the Saudi Health Ministry had to acquire a specially-made bed and a crane to transfer Mr Khaled from his second-floor apartment.

The bed was made for Mr Khaled in the US. The Red Cross, Health Ministry and military personnel took part in the operation, which reportedly took six months to prepare.

A Health Ministry spokesman told CNN that Mr Khaled is 20 years old, and will be treated with various dietary and physical programmes to help him lose weight.

"Humanitarian gesture"

"H umanitarian gesture"

The Daily Mail quoted Mr Naser Makke as saying that he was relieved that his cousin had finally been sent for treatment.

Mr Naser said: "We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The King... had given his instructions to the Ministry of Health to do all the necessary arrangements to transfer the patient for treatment in a safe way."

Saudi Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah told the Saudi Gazette: "It is really a humanitarian gesture from the King to order the transfer and treatment of the patient.

"Once the Health Ministry received the royal order, it formed a medical team specialising in intensive care to work out the best plan to transfer the case to Riyadh and handle it as best as possible medically."

Only one person has been known to weigh more than Mr Khaled and that is American Jon Brower Minnoch, who reached 635kg and died in 1983, the Daily Mail reported.

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