World’s heaviest woman lands in Mumbai for operation

MUMBAI: After two months of preparations, the world’s heaviest woman – Eman Ahmed from Egypt who weighs over 500kg with a girth of five feet – flew into Mumbai on February 11 for medical treatment that could span over four years. The cost of moving Eman from her home in Alexandria into a cargo plane, loading her onto amini-truck at Mumbai airport and then using a crane to slide her customized bed into a specially prepared room on the first floor of Saifee Hospital on Charni Road has come to Rs 83 lakh.

“We have just paid Rs 83 lakh for the logistics and will collect another Rs 1 crore,” said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, the bariatric surgeon who has spearheaded the Save Eman campaign. Her treatment is being crowd funded. But the wait isn’t yet over for Eman, who left home after 25 years and her bed after 13. Dr Lakdawala said, “The earliest we may operate on her is after four weeks.”

4-year plan to help Eman trim down

Doctors, who have already done a battery of tests on her, will over the next month work on reducing water-retention issues using medicines and a protein-rich diet. “We should be able to cut down 50-60 kg with this alone,” said Dr Lakdawala. Incidentally, doctors aren’t yet sure if Eman weighs 500 kg or more. “She was weighed five years back and was 330 kg then. Her sister says she is now double the size,” said the doctor.

Even the surgery in March will only be the beginning of a long weight-reduction exercise. As her doctor puts it, “We have worked out a four-year plan for her.” The plan includes at least two operations, diet plans and physiotherapy sessions. After the surgery, Eman could lose around 100 kilos within the six months that she will spend in Mumbai.

“We will perform a sleeve gastrectomy operation,” said Dr Lakdawala, who travelled with Eman and her sister Shaimaa from the airport in a truck. In sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is surgically reduced to about 15% of its original size and ends up looking like a sleeve or tube. She will leave for Egypt thereafter. “I want to ensure that Eman, who has been bedridden for over a decade, is able to travel back sitting in a business class seat to Alexandria,” said Dr Lakdawala.

After losing at least another 100 kilos she will return to Mumbai for the second surgery which is a relatively new procedure called SADI (to reduce the intestinal loops). Meanwhile, the Saifee team has reached out to five medical world leaders, including endocrinologists from Harvard University and Imperial College in London, to figure out why Eman is morbidly obese. Results of her genetic tests, which have already been done, will be available in four weeks. “If it is genetic abnormality, medicines can help,” said Dr Lakdawala.

Earlier, Eman and her entourage landed at the Mumbai international airport around 3am. She was lifted from the cargo aircraft with the help of a crane and put into a mini-truck that left the airport around 4.45 am. She reached the Charni Road Hospital around 6.13 am and it took another 15 minutes for her bed to be lifted onto the platform leading to her first floor room. Eman has a long list of medical conditions, ranging from severe lymphedema and water retention to disabilities related to her stroke. Her right arm and leg are paralyzed and she has type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism as well as severe obstructive and restrictive lung disease.

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