World's heaviest person's Mumbai visit for surgery in doubt

Updated: Dec 16, 2016, 11:05 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty |

Following mid-day report, affronted Cairo hospital puts together crack team of bariatric surgeons, but family members of Eman Ahmad Abdulati insist they want to come to India

Eman’s sister Shaimaa (right) has been struggling for years to get her back on her feet
Eman’s sister Shaimaa (right) has been struggling for years to get her back on her feet

It has now become a matter of pride as to who will get to operate on the world’s heaviest woman, Eman Ahmad Abdulati. Ultimately, however, it’s her own decision that has tipped the scale in favour of Mumbai.

Eman Ahmad Abdulati, who has been bed-ridden for more than a decade, with her sister Shaimaa
Eman Ahmad Abdulati, who has been bed-ridden for more than a decade, with her sister Shaimaa

Even as doctors from Egypt insist that they are capable of performing the record-breaking fat-loss surgery, the 36-year-old and her family are determined that the surgery will only be conducted by Mumbai’s Dr Muffazal Lakdawala, a bariatric surgeon and chairman of the Institute of Minimal Invasive Surgical Sciences and Research Centre at Saifee Hospital.

Also Read: World's heaviest person to be flown into Mumbai at a cost of Rs 20 lakh

On December 7, mid-day broke the story of Egyptian national Eman finding help from Dr Lakdawala, who agreed to take on her case. The 500-kg woman has been bed-ridden for 13 years and has not left her house in 25 years. Her sister, Shaimaa Ahmed, had spent years desperately looking for a doctor who could help get her back on her feet, until Dr Lakdawala finally answered their prayers.

#Egyptians are capable
Days after mid-day reported on this development, doctors in her home country sprang into action to try and ensure that they don’t lose the chance to perform the record-breaking surgery.

Over the past week, messages with the hashtag ‘Egyptians are capable’ have been doing the rounds online. The Egyptian army has also assured it will provide logistical help to ensure that Eman is transported safely from Alexandria to Cairo.

Dr Ahmed Elgeidie, a bariatric surgeon from Egypt who is ready to help Eman, said, “Egyptian surgeons see this as an insult. They want to ensure that the surgery happens in Egypt.”

Speaking to mid-day from Cairo, Dr Mohey Elbanna, professor of laparoscopic and bariatric surgery at Ain Shams University, said that the dean of faculty at the hospital — Dr El-Meteini — has roped in three senior bariatric surgeons to manage Eman’s case.

“We are ready and capable to take care of her in Ain Shams Hospitals. In June 2016, Dr El-Meteini, approved the establishment of the bariatric surgery department in the hospital. It is the first of its kind in Egypt and the Arab world. Ten eminent Egyptian bariatric surgeons have joined the department since its establishment,” said Dr Elbanna.

One of the experts on the team, Dr Khaled Gawdat, founder of the Egyptian Society of Bariatric Surgery, also confirmed: “We will perform Eman’s surgery as soon as she is ready.”

Back and forth
When mid-day told Dr Gawdat about reports that Eman’s family had searched for medical assistance but did not find satisfactory help from local doctors in the past, he said, “Not true, we have operated on many similar cases in the past 20 years.” Another doctor said the Egyptian health ministry has stated that Eman’s family didn’t seek surgical advice.

Read Story: World's heaviest person coming to Mumbai for emergency operation

On the other hand, Dr Lakdawala denied that Egyptian doctors had come forward to help. “It is false. They haven’t approached the family yet and the patient doesn’t want to get operated there. She will come to Mumbai for the surgery,” he confirmed, adding that it would take another 10-15 days to arrange the aircraft to airlift Eman from Egypt.

Family determined
Even as Egyptian doctors form a team to operate on Eman, her sister told mid-day that they still intend on coming to India for the surgery. “We are waiting for the aircraft which will be arranged by Dr Lakdawala,” said Shaimaa. Asked if Eman could speak to the reporter, she said, “Eman can’t talk on the phone.”

Hit and miss
This is not the first time that Mumbai might lose the opportunity to clinch a medical record. In 2014, a 350-kg patient from Oman tried to come to Mumbai for surgery, but couldn’t get an airlift.

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