Eman Ahmed, the world’s heaviest woman until January, who underwent surgery for weight loss earlier this year, passed away in Abu Dhabi on Monday morning. Doctors at Abu Dhabi’s Brujeel hospital said that multiple co-morbid complications including heart disease and kidney dysfunction led to her death.
Ahmed, who was originally from Egypt, weighed around 500 kg when she was first brought to Mumbai’s Saifee Hospital to undergo weight loss surgery in February. Before her trip to India, Eman’s family used to take care of her. Her sister, Shaimaa Selim and her mother Sana Selim spent 7,000 Egyptian pounds each month to look after the bed-ridden Eman.
The 36-year-old was then flown to India in a special aircraft to undergo obesity management. She was treated by a group of 15 doctors led by Dr. Muffazal Lakdwala at Mumbai’s Saifee hospital. Apart from the obesity, Eman also suffered from sleep apnea, hypothyroid, diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems and fluid retention. She was put on a strict diet to reduce her weight so that she could be operated upon. She then underwent the first bariatric surgery in March. The hospital authorities claimed that Eman had lost 120 kg and that she was healing faster than they thought. By mid-March she was able to sleep well and her renal functions were under control. While the doctors were happy about her progress, they were concerned about the eight epileptic seizures that Eman had suffered after during her time in India. She was also paralysed on the right side of her body.
However, what started out as a ray of hope for Eman, soon turned into exchange of words between her family and her doctors. Doctors who believed that physiotherapy was the next step for Eman, told her family that she could be taken back home. Eman’s sister, on the other hand, claimed that they were promised at least a six-month long treatment. “She expects that her sister will start walking one day. I never promised her that. When Eman was brought here, I thought even if she returned home sitting that would be a victory. We have reached that point,” said Lakdawala.
Selim, repeatedly requested the doctors to keep Eman for a few more months. She started getting “angry with the nursing staff” and disagreed with them over medical decision. She also claimed that the doctors were using Eman for publicity. While Selim blamed the doctors at Saifee hospital for unsatisfactory treatment, four doctors who were treating Eman rendered their resignation as a symbolic protest against Selim’s approach. Marred by the controversy surrounding Eman’s treatment, the family decided to shift her to Abu Dhabhi’s Brujeel hospital .
Eman who weighed around 176 kgs then, left for Abu Dhabhi in May. Eman had started physiotherapy to focus on her leg muscles. Doctors in Brujeel hospital had hoped to conduct liposuction and abdominoplasty surgery to help her shed the extra kilos around her arms, face and stomach. The surgeries, however, could not be conducted. A correction surgery of hip, knee and joints was also planned.
However, all medical plans were cut short because of Eman’s death, a month after her birthday. “It is extremely sad that she passed away. Her kidney function was normal when she was discharged. We cannot comment on what went wrong,” Dr Aparna Bhasker, who was a part of Eman’s medical team in Mumbai said to The Indian Express