Egyptian national Eman Ahmed, who was until recently believed to be the world’s heaviest woman, will be discharged on Friday from the Saifee Hospital here, where she underwent treatment for severe obesity.
Eman (36), who was accompanied by her sister Shaimaa Salem, would be shifted to VPS Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for further treatment.
“Eman, who was brought here in February this year, weighed around 498 kgs on arrival. Her weight has reduced to 177 kgs,” Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, bariatric surgeon who led the team of doctors treating Eman at the city hospital said.
“Huzefa Shehabi, COO Saifee Hospital, has received an e-mail communication from VPS Burjeel Hospital (in Abu Dhabi, UAE) saying that Eman is ‘stable, in good health and fit to fly’. She would be discharged from Saifee on Friday at 10.30 am,” Lakdawala said.
A doctors’ team from Saifee will brief the team from VPS Burjeel about Eman’s current medical status, he said.
Eman will be handed over to the staff of VPS Burjeel around 10.30 am, he said.
“An special ambulance will be made available for her shifting as Eman’s weight is 170 kg now. We were told that her cargo plane arranged by the Egyptian consulate will take off from Mumbai airport at 6 pm to UAE. A team of 10-12 officials and medical staff from VPS hospital came to meet us this morning. We have shared all her reports, the procedure to treat her. We would love if they keep us appraised about Eman’s health in future as well,” he said.
“One good thing is that they (VPS Healthcare group) are flying down Eman’s mother to UAE. It is a good thing as she needs to be with her family,” Dr Lakdawala added.
“I was scared when we were bringing her here as to whether she would ever return home. My job was just to bring down her weight, but she had other complications too. Now, I have successfully done my job, we have stabilised her other ailments and I can now treat 100 Emans and despite controversy I can handle 100 Shaimaas (Eman’s sister) as well,” he said.
Huzefa Shehabi said, “A realistic time-frame of her treatment is prepared and shared with the new doctors as well.”
Referring to the allegations made by Eman’s sister, Shaimaa, that Eman was not receiving proper treatment at the Saifee hospital, Shehabi said, “There have been incidents of some miscommunication and over expectations but we did treat our patient properly and her health condition is much better now.”
According to Saifee authorities, the total cost incurred on Eman’s treatment was around Rs 3 crore, of which the hospital received Rs 65 lakh in the form of donations from Indians. “We have not asked for a single penny from Eman’s family. We are happy that we did bring her weight down. We are extremely happy and pleased with her progress and wish her all the best,” Dr Lakdawala said.
Eman’s sister, in an online video had recently alleged that the doctors at Saifee, made “false claims” about Eman’s complete recovery and weight loss of 262 kg.
Refuting the allegations, Dr Aparna Bhaskar, section chief of bariatric surgery at Saifee Hospital, had said that Shaimaa may be criticising the doctors to extend her sister’s stay at the hospital. Dr Lakdawala too had denied the charge.
When asked about Shaimaa’s wish that Eman should be able to walk, Dr Lakdawala said, “One of the doctors from our team was an orthopaedic surgeon and he has very clearly that it is difficult that Eman would walk ever.”
“That surgery would be more difficult than the bariatric surgery. As she has not walked for more than two decades her bone structure has become fibrous. The disease has complicated her health and there will be a series of surgeries to be undertaken to straighten her hips and knees.”
“Eman can now speak 2-3 sentences at a stretch. She was able to utter few words when we brought her here,” he said in response to a query.
“We must understand that the way her weight has come down, it is phenomenal. As a bariatric surgeon, her case is unique to me because her weight came down drastically compared to other obese people, who I have treated earlier. If her current diet is strictly followed, her weight can come down to 150 to 160 kg in a month,” said the doctor.
Responding to Shaimaa’s allegations, he said, “Treatment to Eman was not a blind shot. Before getting Eman here, I was discussing with the entire team of doctors on how to go ahead with it. We discussed it in all possible details and then we decided to bring her here. My tweet to Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was made after we all were ready to take up this challenge.”
“We even carried out a rehearsal of the special crane to lift Eman from the ground floor. We did it twice and then she was put on it. Similarly, to test the capacity of the special bed of Eman, we made some 10-15 people from our staff to sit on it,” he said.
We have forgiven her sister Shaimaa, though she made false allegations against us, he added.
In a blog, Dr Lakdawala said that Eman’s sister has been promised by Burjeel Hospital officials that “Eman will be able to stand and walk”.
The doctor further said that Shaimaa insisted she had wanted the hospital (Saifee) to keep Eman till she could walk and the management said that was not possible because of the advice we have received from one the foremost orthopaedic surgeons in the country.
“Shaimaa then said she has been promised by Burjeel Hospital officials that Eman will be able to stand and walk soon. We told her we would not over-promise and we would not put the patient at risk. This is the crux of her issue with the Indian doctors and hospital,” he said in the blog.
“Shaimaa’s response has been to release morbid videos on social networks, making allegations against me and the rest of the medical team and waging a trial by media. The medical team’s response has been to stay focused on the well-being of the patient,” the blog said.
Eman underwent bariatric surgery in March in which doctors reduced the size of her stomach by two-third, so as to reduce her food intake. Her genetic tests had showed that she has a rare gene mutation that cannot be cured through surgery.
Eman was treated by Dr Lakdawala and a team of around 15 doctors from various disciplines since she was brought here from Alexandria on February 11 this year.