Saifee Hospital demolishes structure after municipal corporation serves it a notice for constructing it without securing the requisite permissions
Remnants of the special operation theatre that Saifee Hospital had built for Eman Ahmed (inset). Pic/Sameer Markande
At a time when Saifee Hospital is struggling to raise Rs 50 lakh for the transport and medication of Eman Ahmed, world's heaviest woman, a BMC notice has forced it to demolish the special operation theatre it had built for her at a cost of Rs 2 crore. This has come as another blow in the quest to save Eman's life and make her mobile again.
"We had asked for an official explanation from the hospital for starting the work without BMC permission, informing authorities there to stop it. They then got back to us and are now demolishing it, or else we would have had to knock down it," said a senior official from D ward.
It all falls down
Just two weeks back, Saifee Hospital doctors who visited Eman in Egypt, had promised that a special room has been built for the 1.5-metre-wide patient weighing 500 kg. The prolonged delay has raised concerns among the doctors in Cairo, who have questioned the availability of medical facilities in the Mumbai hospital to treat such a patient.
mid-day was the first to highlight how, without getting an official approval from the BMC, it had started constructing a temporary OT of 800 sq ft on the building's ground floor.
On January 17, BMC issued a notice to the hospital under section MMC 354A to stop the construction. By January-end, 80 per cent of the work was finished. Later, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta cancelled the approval as the hospital had been illegally building the structure on a cemetery.
Bariatric surgeon at Saifee Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, who has promised to operate on her for free, had visited Eman in Alexandria two weeks back, where he had assured her sister Shaimaa of help and told her of the special structure being built as per Eman's needs. A video uploaded on the official Tumblr page of #SaveEman shows Shaimaa saying, "He prepared everything as well as a well-equipped room for her treatment."
The demolition has broken Dr Lakdawala's word. Dr Mohey Elbanna, a professor of laparoscopic and bariatric surgery at Ain Shams University from Cairo who is ready to operate on Eman in Egypt, said, "We read it online, Dr Lakdawala commenting that in Egypt we don't have the infrastructure. If his hospital has the infrastructure, then why is he making a special OT for Eman? We could have also done the same here..."
9% raised, 14 days left
Dr Lakdawala had started an online crowd funding campaign on BitGiving.com for Eman — #HelpSaveEman — to raise the R50 lakh for her air and road transport and medicines. But so far only R4,52,901 has come in with 14 days left to meet the target. The doctor along with Shaimaa also shared a video, appealing to people to donate money for the surgery.
mid-day was the first to report on December 7 about Eman's plan to come to Mumbai for the weight-loss surgery. Dr Lakdawala had helped her to procure a medical visa after tweeting about it to Union minister Sushma Swaraj. It's been nearly two months now with no concrete assurance on when she will come to Mumbai for the surgery. Despite repeated attempts, medical director Dr Vernon Desa and Dr Lakdawala were unavailable for comment.
mid-day had also reported earlier about Shaimaa expressing her concern about Eman's health deteriorating by the day. "Earlier, she used to at least crawl, but gradually, her movement stopped completely as she kept gaining weight. Just two years back, she could move or sit on a chair; now, she is completely bedridden. She is suffering from so many diseases that we can't wait anymore. It is 100 per cent necessary for her to undergo the surgery," she had said.