Sometime soon, Eman Ahmed will move from her bed at her home in Alexandria for the first time in 25 years. She will be carried on a special chair that doubles as a bed made by a London-based firm. And she will be taken on board a private cargo plane for the 4,500-km journey to Mumbai.
That’s what family and well-wishers of the 36-year-old Egyptian, who weighs an estimated 500 kg and suffers from a number of medical ailments, hope. She will then undergo a series of medical procedures at Saifee Hospital in south Mumbai over six months to shed weight — and, hopefully, rediscover life again.
WATCH VIDEO | 500-Kg Patient From Egypt Eman Ahmed To Be Taken To Mumbai For Treatment
For Eman, whose family could not afford the treatment she requires, the first sign of a turnaround came last October when her sister Shaimaa Ahmed, an engineer, contacted a Mumbai-based surgeon after approaching several doctors across the world in vain.
“They heard about me through a friend I had operated upon in Egypt,” said Dr Mufaddal Lakdawala, a bariatric surgeon.
In December, Lakdawala posted an appeal on Twitter with Eman’s photo, which was flagged by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Today, Lakdawala said, around Rs 4.5 lakh has been raised for Eman’s treatment. But, he added, her family would need at least Rs 50 lakh to cover costs related to her stay for six months, the cargo plane and further follow-up procedures over the next few years.
WATCH VIDEO| World’s Heaviest Woman Eman Ahmed Expresses Desire To Meet Salman Khan
According to Lakdawala, Eman was bed-ridden at the age of 11 after contracting a series of diseases. She suffers from lymphedema — a condition in which fluid keeps accumulating in her arms and legs — along with hypothyroidism, diabetes, lung disease and obesity.
She had also suffered a stroke, which left her right arm and leg paralysed. And she cannot speak clearly anymore.
Lakdawala said he has offered his services for free, as also the team of specialists that will treat Eman, including cardiologists, an endocrinologist, a dietician, a physician, a neurologist, a nephrologist and an anaesthesiologist. Besides, the hospital is creating an 800 sq-ft space with a large entrance to accommodate the patient.
“Doctors will try to reduce water retention in her body through a low calorie diet. When her medical condition is stable, and risks associated with bariatric procedures are minimal, the first surgery to remove extra fat will be conducted. She will then be given several months to recover and a second bariatric procedure will follow. The entire process to reduce hundreds of kilos will be done in a series of operations that can take few years,” said Lakdawala.
According to Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C-DOC hospital in New Delhi, the risk of complications arising out of infection are high in such surgeries. “Anaesthesia should be able to penetrate layers of fat in her body. Operating upon such patients is also a challenge. It takes a long time to recover from these surgeries,” said Misra.
In 2015, a Mexican weighing 450 kg had undergone weight loss surgery in Mexico but succumbed two months later to post-surgery complications.
According to bariatric surgeons, India has become a destination for this life-saving surgery for many foreign nationals.
Six years ago, a British man weighing 310 kg visited Pune to reduce his weight. “He chose India over other countries. The cost here is 40 to 50 per cent less than USA or Europe,” said Dr Shashank Shah, former president of Obesity Surgery Society of India, who operated on that patient.
If all goes well, it would a near miracle for Eman’s family, which received a setback just six months ago with the death of her father. Eman is expected to reach Mumbai in February — if the funds are raised by then.