A cheerful Eman Ahmed was seen blowing kisses and winking at her medical team on Monday. The 36-year-old Egyptian, reportedly the world’s heaviest woman until January this year, who was bed-ridden for last three years, can now sit up in bed.
Eman’s younger sister Shaimaa Selim, 32, claims Eman now cooperates during therapy sessions and has become peppier. “Whatever happened in India had stressed her,” she said, looking at her sister, adding, “A salon team did her make-up today.” To this, Eman, with kohl-rimmed eyes, sporting a red T-shirt and a headscarf, replied: “But I am pretty.”
While under treatment in Mumbai’s Saifee hospital from February 11 to May 4, Eman had negligible limb mobility, her speech was not clear and she smiled sparingly. After moving to Abu Dhabi, her sister said, Eman has shown a marked difference in temperament.
Over the last three months, the Egyptian national has been eating four meals a day by herself and can converse coherently. In mid-August, she is set to undergo liposuction and abdominoplasty to further cut down extra fat followed by series of plastic surgeries to shape the loosened skin around her arms, face and stomach.
“She will remain admitted for at least a year. We will now focus on her leg movements. A correction surgery of hip, knee and joints is needed. Her leg muscles are too weak to support her weight and physiotherapy is necessary. But we are still not sure if she can walk,” said Dr Yassin Shahat, medical director at Burjeel Hospital. Doctors added that by overcoming depression, there is improvement in Eman’s health.
Eman was lifted by a crane in February and brought in a cargo carrier from Egypt to Indian to undergo obesity management at Saifee Hospital. She was estimated to weigh near 500 kgs.
In Mumbai, Saifee Hospital claimed that Eman shed 300 kg. She underwent a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery that reduced the size of her stomach by 75 per cent. In addition, she was kept on a high protein and calorie-controlled diet to gradually reduce weight.
However, the doctor-patient relation turned tempestuous when treating surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala asked Eman to return home to Egypt and continue her rehabilitation procedure there. The family claimed they were promised at least a six-month long treatment. Following alleged disagreement over Eman’s discharge from hospital, Shaimaa approached the Burjeel hospital in Abu Dhabi were Eman was shifted in May.
“We realised she needed a multi-disciplinary approach, something that she did not receive before. After her treatment, we want to make Eman the ambassador for obesity management to address the rising issues of child obesity,” said Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, managing director of VPS Healthcare. Vayalil added with a smile that he has promised her an electronic wheelchair and an ice-cream treat outside the hospital once her mobility improves.
Dr Aparna Bhasker, bariatric surgeon who was part of team that attended to Eman at the Saifee Hospital, said they did not wish to comment on the case.
(The reporter was in Abu Dhabi as a guest of Burjeel Hospital)