Admitted in a special room created by Saifee Hospital on Saturday, Egyptian national Eman Ahmed Abdelaty was lucky enough to savour the first mango of the season.
Eman, who weighed 500 kilos and is said to be world’s heaviest woman, has been confined to bed in her Alexandria home in Egpyt for last 25 years. It was on Friday, that she was lifted in a specially made bed with wheels with the help of crane and brought to Mumbai in Egpyt Air Cargo airplane on February 11.
The good news for the doctors is her right side is not paralysed as it was believed earlier after she suffered stroke, her lipid levels and liver function is normal.
“Her actual diet has started from today. She will be on protein rich liquid diet which will be given along with dairy and fibre supplements,” said Dr Shehla Shaikh, endocrinologist and one of the thirteen doctors who will be monitoring Eman’s case at Saifee Hospital.
Dr Mufazzal Lakdawala, Saifee Hospital’s bariatric surgeon who is singularly responsible for getting Eman to Mumbai, said while Eman’s journey for treatment has ended after landing in Mumbai, his has just begun. “It took 6 months since her sister first got in touch with me. We have been busy for last three months in getting everything in place. Now that she has managed the journey to Mumbai safely, my journey to treat her has begun,” said Dr Lakdawala.
Eman’s present body mass index (BMI) is 252 as compared to a normal BMI of 24 and her width is 151 cm. “Her skin is as hard as a stone because of the fluid retention. Our initial days of treatment will focus on getting out all the accumulated fluid in her body,” said Dr Lakdawala, who has so far operated 73 people whose weight has been 200 kilos and above. The heaviest person operated by Dr Lakdawala is 300 kilos who is now 120 kilos. “I have operated on people with BMI 100 but Eman’s BMI is 252. It is a rough road and we have taken up this challenge,” said Dr Lakdawala.
He added that if they manage to shed off the fluid accumulation from her body, Eman will be 80-100 kilos lighter than what her present weight is. “It is the phase one of her treatment. Dr Hemal Shah, nephrologist, Dr Rajesh Sharma, pulmonologist, Dr Shehla Shaikh, endocrinologist along with nutritionists Carlyne Remedios and Neha Dhulla under the guidance of Huzaifa Shehabi, COO of Saifee Hospital will take care of this phase,” informed Dr Lakdawala.
“Eman is an epitome of positivity, ever since she has landed she has kept everyone around in good spirits with her sense of humour,” said Dr Shaikh.
Recalling an incident, she said when they took 6 staffers to move her on her bed in the hospital, Eman started laughing loudly.
“When we asked her sister why is Eman laughing, her sister said, back home (in Egypt) Eman used to be moved only by her mother and sister,” Shaikh added.
In last 48 hours, Eman has undergone a battery of tests. While doctors say most of the tests were as per their expectations, they are waiting for her genetic tests results. “We don’t know if we will operate on her. It will be decided after the genetic test results come to us. If she can be medically managed, we will go ahead with it,” said Lakdawala.
Explaining why genetic test results are important to treat Eman, Dr Shaikh said there are monogenic and polygenic obesities. “There are many genes that have been implicated in obesity. Leptin deficiency, leptin receptors which are affected are few. FTO genes too could be implicated in obesity. There are some syndromes too like Bardet–Biedl syndrome that is linked to obesity. If her genetic tests show she has monogenic cause behind her obesity, we might have to rethink about surgery option and go for a medical management,” said Dr Shaikh.
Doctors and experts from Harvard University, Imperial College in London, Melbourne University too have extended their expertise to the team of doctors looking after Eman at Saifee.
While Dr Lakdawala and team didn’t wish to give a time period for Eman’s treatment and her stay in Mumbai, he said the day she is able to sit and independently have food, they will send her home. “We will send her home when she is able to sit, eat with her own hands and that may be probably after our phase I of treatment ends for her. We will decide on second surgery once her weight comes below 200 kilos. We then plan to do a bariatric surgery where we will bypass the small intestine so that food does not get quickly absorbed in the digestive system thereby helping in weight loss. This surgery will ensure that only 20-25% of what she eats gets absorbed by her body,” said Dr Lakdawala.
Eman is presently been given nursing care by a team of women nurses. Doctors also applauded Eman’s sister Shaimma Ahmed who actually started the #SaveEman campaign and got in touch with Dr Lakdawala.
“For 25 years, Eman didn’t have a single bed sore. We are amazed at the level of commitment and love her mother and sister showered on her. They are the real hero. Shaimma has left behind her two and half year old daughter in Egypt to be with Eman,” said Dr Lakdwala.
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