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Twist in Eman Ahmed’s tale: Sister sees holes in doctors’ success claim

Doctors say Shaimaa is defaming hospital as she is not financially capable of treating Eman in Egypt.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: April 25, 2017 12:46:52 pm

The story of Eman Ahmed that began with a hope for obesity patients has now turned into an ugly spat between her doctors and her family, making future of the 36-year-old patient from Egypt uncertain as far as her treatment is concerned.

Estimated to be the world’s heaviest woman, Eman weighed over 500 kg when she came to India on February 11 this year. On Monday, doctors at Saifee Hospital weighed her at 171 kg, calling it a miraculous weight loss. Having considerably reduced her frame, she would undergo a CT scan at 11 am Tuesday to assess what neurological condition led to eight seizures in two months, said doctors.

Eman’s sister Shaimaa Selim, however, alleged in a video that Eman was still unable to speak or move, and had not lost as much weight as the hospital was claiming. The video posted on a portal has now gone viral.

“On March 13, I was asked to take Eman back to Egypt by this month. Doctors said physiotherapy and rehabilitation do not require hospitalisation. But Eman is a different case. How will I look after her in Egypt if something critical happens,” Shaimaa said while speaking to The Indian Express.

In the past fortnight, doctors and Eman’s family have remained in a deadlock over her future course of treatment.
“Eman will not die due to obesity, we have treated that part. She needs neurological rehabilitation that can be done in Egypt. But despite counselling, her sister has decided to defame us because she is not financially capable of treating Eman in Egypt,” claimed bariatric surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala, adding it had disappointed the entire staff over the way a fight had ensued between the patient’s sister and the hospital.

Shaimaa, however, claimed Eman had not been weighed since her arrival. “She is sometimes very sick and I don’t know what to do. She is fed through tubes and cannot speak,” she said. According to her, Eman cries often, suffers constant pain in left leg and is under heavy medication.

“The doctor had promised to completely treat her when he came to our home in Alexandria. Now they are suddenly advising discharge. I had offers from other countries but I trusted this hospital,” she alleged.

In March, Eman underwent her first bariatric surgery in which doctors reduced her stomach size by two-third. Eman’s genetic tests show she has a rare LEPR gene mutation that cannot be cured through surgery.

“We have treated obesity condition in the best possible way. But Eman suffers from other ailments, especially neurological condition, that is beyond my expertise,” Lakdawala said. On Tuesday, neurologist Dr Arun Shah will examine Eman and check reasons behind her paralysis attack and seizures.

On Monday, the hospital posted  a photograph of Eman Ahmed watching  television. Photo courtsey: Saifee hospital

Once medical intervention is no longer needed, Eman will be sent back to Egypt for rehabilitation, according to doctors at the hospital. The hospital has been in touch with the consul general of Egypt to discuss the return flight.
Shaimaa, however, said she had been protesting Eman’s discharge since March 13. “I have been saying not to discharge her but nobody in the hospital is listening to me. How can they abandon a patient when her one hand and leg remain immobile and she continues to remain sick,” she said.

Shaimaa added that she and her mother had looked after Eman for so many years and would continue to do so in Egypt if her condition went back to how it was two months ago.

Eman, 36, was flown to India in a modified cargo aircraft on February 10 after being lifted in a crane from her first-storey flat in Alexandria.

The Ahmeds claim they do not have the finances to medically support her and were assured of treatment by Saifee Hospital. Her father passed away in 2016 and her mother does odd tailoring job to earn a living. Eman has been suffering from obesity since the age of 11 when she stopped going to school. For the last two years, she has remained bed-bound.

Even as doctors at Saifee Hospital claim they have medical records to show improvements in her, Shaimaa said her sister had bluish swelling on her body and her health was worsening.

The hospital weighed her two days before the surgery when she was 378 kg. Weeks after the bariatric procedure, her weight reduced to 250 kg. Her current weight is 171 kg.

“For the last 15 days, we have not communicated with her sister. She has threatened to defame us if we stick to the decision to discharge her. The hospital has spent a huge amount to treat Eman. Doctors have put in their best,” said Lakdawala.

To make their point, both the hospital team and Eman’s sister have posted separate videos of Eman online. On Monday, the hospital posted a photograph of her watching television. Last week, another video showed her taking round of the hospital in a special chair. Her sister, however, posted a video recently in which Eman is seen crying as she says she feels cheated by the hospital management.

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