Here is a story of the kind of miracles a doctor can perform for a patient in and out of the operation theatre. World’s heaviest woman, Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, an Egyptian national who has not stepped out of her house in Cairo for the past 20 years, will soon be flying to Mumbai for an obesity surgery in a specially arranged chartered flight.
This miracle has been made possible only because of gargantuan efforts by Mumbai’s obesity surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala and timely intervention of India’s external affair minister Sushma Swaraj.
Sometime in the month of October, Eman’s sister got in touch with Lakdawala and explained him her sister’s plight. Thirty-six-year-old Eman, who weighs 500 kilos, is reported to be world’s heaviest woman and has been fighting obesity since childhood.
“For 20 years, she didn’t step out of her house. Her family had tried many doctors there for medical help but were denied. It was her sister who got in touch with me after she heard of me from a family friend, who I had operated for obesity,” Lakdawala told My Medical Mantra.
After her family sent all her medical reports, the doctor started sending request for monetary help to his friends. “The family is poor and cannot afford the cost of a private chartered flight to Mumbai from Cairo. While we asked the family to make her passport and arrange for visa, I started collecting funds,” said Lakdawala.
However, after having collected funds and made her travel arrangements, they faced a huge hurdle. Since Eman was not able to step out of her house and travel to the Indian embassy in Egypt, she was denied the Indian visa.
“It was like a roadblock for us. Embassy refused to budge and we needed visa for her to fly to Mumbai,” Lakdawala said.
An exasperated Lakdawala then sent a tweet to Swaraj as a last ditch effort. And to his and everyone’s surprise, despite herself being hospitalised, Swaraj, responded to the tweet and within 20 hours, the Indian embassy in Cairo gave Eman a medical visa. Swaraj is currently admitted to the AIIMS hospital in Delhi and is expected to undergo a kidney transplant operation this weekend.
“I am mighty impressed with the promptness shown by the minister even though she is fighting kidney failure and is hospitalised. Thanks to her, Eman will now be in Mumbai by next week,” said Lakdawala.
The doctor said Eman was born weighing five kilograms and was diagnosed with elephantiasis (a condition in which a limb or other body part swells due to a parasitic infection).
He explained that her condition is also described as ‘disruption of the glands’, which means the body stores and retains more water than it should.
“At the age of 11, Eman had gained immense weight because of which she could not stand up on her own, and would crawl on the knees,” said Lakdawala.
Lakdawala is a well-known obesity surgeon who had operated on politicians like Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu.