Life has never been easy for Mohammad Kaleem, the son of two working-class parents in eastern India. Born with a rare version of gigantism, the boy’s hands grew to an astonishing size, ultimately weighing twenty-eight pounds by the time Kaleem turned eight. This weight, coupled with palms measuring thirteen inches in length, earned the boy the title of “biggest hands in the world.”

Kaleem's hands before surgery

Unfortunately, Mohammad’s gigantism earned him other titles and nicknames, including one from his neighbors in the village. Declaring that his large hands were the result of his parents’ wrongdoings, Kaleem was labeled a “devil child” and made into a social outcast. This hatred came not just from random villagers, but also from his uncle and younger children in his family. As the boy grew, the staggering increase in the size of his hands limited him from being able to do his chores, bathe himself, or even put on his own clothes. He was also denied entry into the local school after the administrator said Kaleem’s hands would frighten the other children.

Kaleem and his father before his surgery

Thankfully, news of Kaleem’s predicament spread and Dr. Raja Sabapathy reached out to his family. A specialist surgeon with a focus on hands and micro surgery, Sabapathy agreed to perform a life-changing operation. The process to help Kaleem took place at Ganga Hospital, where other physicians assisted Sabapathy in the eight-hour surgery to remove excess bone, tissue, and fluid from the child’s right hand. This surgery reduced the weight of the arm by nearly fifty percent. An additional procedure occurred to remove the growth plates from the arm to ensure that it does not grow any larger. A similar surgery for the left arm and hand has not yet been scheduled.

Kaleem's hand after surgery

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Steve Pame

Steve Pame

A part-time graduate student and high school teacher, Steve enjoys just about anything that makes him forget all the student loans he'll never be able to pay back. He enjoys visiting his extended family, spread throughout the world, whenever he has a chance.