Photo: TLC and Megalomedia
Renee's only hope was hard to come by—12 hospitals turned her down, saying they couldn't operate on someone her size. Desperate for help, Renee turned to the Internet. "I turned on the webcam on my laptop, and I just started talking," she said.
Her prayers were answered when Renaissance Hospital of Houston saw her plea online. The hospital specializes in gastric surgery on the morbidly obese and is a leader in the field. In 2007, Renee left her home for the first time in four years and became the heaviest woman to ever undergo gastric bypass surgery.
Her recovery started out strong. Renee started to lose weight and did exercises from her bed. Then, just 12 days after surgery, her condition took a tragic turn. "Suddenly, she had a bout of chest pain and shortness of breath, and very soon after that, the patient had a full cardiac arrest," says Dr. Bryan Lipsen. Renee passed away at 29 years old.
Renee's daughters were staying with their grandmother when they got the news. "I just wanted to sit down and die, probably in a corner crying, because I knew my mom was my best friend. And now that she's gone, it hurts," says Mirina, Renee's eldest daughter.