Since she landed in Mumbai early on Saturday, Eman Ahmed has been smiling. “She and her sister are relieved they are finally here, after waiting for so long,” a doctor from Saifee Hospital said. With her sister Shaimaa Ahmed constantly by her side, Eman — believed to be the world’s heaviest woman — reached Mumbai after a seven-hour flight in a modified aircraft of EgyptAir. Eman is here for a surgery that will reduce her weight and hopefully enable her to lead a normal life. Saifee Hospital bustled with activity early Saturday morning, with staffers gathered around to watch Eman’s bed being lifted from a mini truck. The crane placed the Egypt-made bed on a ramp that led directly to a first-floor room demarcated for her.
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The windows of her room were decorated with white and pink flowers to welcome her. The hospital has formed what they unofficially call, a “task force” to look after Eman. Apart from a core group of six specialists, including a diabetologist, bariatric surgeon, intensive care specialist, nutritionists, cardiologist and nephrologist, a number of nurses and on-duty doctors have been assigned to monitor her. Tucked in blue bedsheets in a special London-manufactured bed in the annex building at the hospital, Eman spent her first day relaxing. “We cannot ascertain her exact weight. So we will measure her height, frame, fat per cent and body mass index to understand what should be her ideal weight,” a senior doctor said.
Eman is estimated to weigh 500 kg, and has spent 25 years restricted to her house in Alexandria, spending the past two years totally confined to bed. The fat accumulation on her arms, stomach and thighs means that she cannot sit upright. “Lack of mobility has affected her the growth of her legs. Her feet are bent inwards, and her legs are too short,” a doctor said.
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The hospital has spent over Rs 2.5 crore so far in building the infrastructure to house Eman for the next six months. She will undergo blood tests, urine test, electro cardiogram and complete physical examination for the next two days. A nutritionist will plan a diet chart to start a procedure to reduce water retention in her body. There are issues that persist. Doctors said certain heavy equipment cannot be lifted through crane to be brought into Eman’s room on the first floor. The hospital is considering constructing a temporary lift to transport the equipment.
According to a doctor, Eman has already shed at least a few kilos before her flight from Egypt to India. She was put on blood thinners to lower risks during the seven-hour flight. Dr Aparna Bhasker, an expert in minimal invasive bariatric surgery at Saifee Hospital who accompanied Eman from Egypt to India, took to Facebook to say, “It happens once in a lifetime when technology, administration, bureaucracy and medicine come together to make the unthinkable possible.”
Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, the bariatric surgeon who will treat Eman, will provide her free treatment along with the hospital. For transporting her to India, he has pooled in Rs 6.7 lakh through crowd funding.