Mumbai doctor travels to Egypt to meet world’s heaviest woman

Dr Muffazal Lakdawala is making arrangements to airlift Eman Ahmed, who weighs 500 kgs, from Alexandria, Egypt to Mumbai and conduct obesity surgery on her

Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, (second from right) Mumbai bariatric surgeon with Eman Ahmed (lying on the bed) and her sister Shimaa Ahmed Abd EL Aty (extreme right) at their home in Alexandria, Egypt. This is the first time that Lakdawala met Eman to examine her and prepare her for the upcoming surgery in India soon

Mumbai doctor who will soon be operating 36-year-old Eman Ahmed – world’s heaviest person – met her at her house in Alexandria in Eygpt this week. Ahmed has been confined to her bed for last 25 years.

Eman’s sister Shaimaa Ahmed had got in touch with Mumbai-based bariatric surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala and explained him her sister’s plight.  Eman, who weighs 500 kilos, is reported to be world’s heaviest woman and has been fighting obesity since childhood.

“There are many complexities involved in the case. According to Eman’s family, she hasn’t been able to move around or leave the house for the past 25 years. She currently suffers from severe lymphedema (swelling in arms and legs) and water retention as a result of her obesity and hypothyroidism,” said Lakdawala.

While Eman’s family faced a tough time in getting her visa for Mumbai, it was because of Lakdawala’s tweet in December to the Union external affair minister Sushma Swaraj that helped her get medical visa to India within 24 hours.

“We are now preparing to get her to Mumbai. We have been in talks with private airlines and raising funds for her transport as well as treatment. She will need a private chartered flight and the family cannot afford it,” said Lakdawala.

For the surgery, the doctors have arranged for a 450 kg operation table and are getting other equipment ready for the surgery. He added that Eman’s treatment is a process and not one single event. “Even her transport needs will have to be highly customized as and when she is in a position to travel. In Eman’s current state, movement has become next to impossible,” said Lakdawala.  He said special arrangements will have to be made for ground as well as air transport for Eman.

“Eman is a high risk patient. She has already suffered a stroke resulting in paralysis of her right arm and leg, she cannot speak, has type 2 diabetes, hypertension, has severe obstructive and restrictive lung disease, gout and is at a very high risk of pulmonary embolism,” said Lakdawala.

He said a multispecialty team of doctors, including two bariatric surgeons, cardiologist, endocrinologist and chest physician will be looking after her before, during and after the surgery.

“Eman has a long journey ahead of her. She will need to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to ascertain every risk parameter in her treatment. She will be put on a very low-calorie supervised diet to downsize her risks and reduce her water retention initially,” said Lakdawala.

Doctor said after the initial course of treatment, when most of her risk factors are in control, she will undergo bariatric surgery. “She will need a series of bariatric procedures at optimal times over the next few years to achieve best results,” said Lakdawala.

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