World's heaviest person, Iman Ahmad Abdulati, is coming to Mumbai for emergency operation

Updated: 12 December, 2016 10:52 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty |

Egyptian woman, Iman Ahmad Abdulati, who has not left her home for 25 years, finally gets visa for a life-saving surgery after a surgeon from Mumbai tweets to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

Iman Ahmad Abdulati has been obese since birth, but the condition has now become life-threatening
Iman Ahmad Abdulati has been obese since birth, but the condition has now become life-threatening

The world’s heaviest person, Iman Ahmad Abdulati, has not left her house in Egypt in 25 years. Now, as she steps out for the first time, it will be to fly to Mumbai for a life-saving surgery that will help her lose weight and regain her life. At 500 kg, she has already smashed all world records, but has not made it to the Guinness Book of World Record yet. And if all goes well, she never will.

Read Story: At 500 kg, world's fattest woman hasn't left her home in 25 years

At 500 kg, Iman is the world’s heaviest person but is yet to be recognised as such by the Guinness Book of World Records
At 500 kg, Iman is the world’s heaviest person but is yet to be recognised as such by the Guinness Book of World Records

Iman (36) has suffered from acute obesity since birth, over the years, her condition went from bad to worse, even causing a stroke in her early childhood. For the past 13 years, she has been bed-ridden, completely dependent on her family for all her needs, including being fed and bathed.

Doctors in Egypt had diagnosed Iman with Elephantiasis, a parasitic infection that is caused by the filarial worm, transmitted to humans via female mosquitoes. It causes extreme swelling in a person’s limbs and arms. However, as Iman kept gaining weight, her sister began to write to doctors across the world, desperately searching for someone who could save her life. Finally, the family’s prayers were answered by Mumbai-based bariatric surgeon, Dr Muffazzal Lakdawala. According to him, Iman is suffering from acute obesity and he believes that surgery finally give Iman the life she has always wanted.

“I have a friend in Egypt who informed me about the case and I agreed to help the patient. The family went through my profile and agreed to come to Mumbai for the surgery,” recalled Lakdawala.

Visa problems
But Iman’s weight nearly got in the way again, when the family realised that they would need to take her to the embassy to get the visa. “Iman can’t move because of her condition, and due to her weight, it is near impossible to move her. But the Indian Embassy in Cairo wasn’t ready to accept it. The officers thought that the family was bluffing and kept asking the family members to bring Iman to the embassy to scan her fingerprint. They didn’t pay any heed to the family’s requests and, as a result, Iman’s visa was rejected,” said Lakdawala, who even provided a reference letter to the embassy, which went ignored.

Sushma saves the day
It was Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister of External Affairs, who came to their rescue. In a desperate bid, on Monday, Lakdawala tweeted to her about the plight of the patient. The minister, who is also undergoing treatment at AIIMS in Delhi, replied immediately, and Iman’s medical visa was approved the same afternoon. “Her visa got approved in the afternoon, and she will be flying to Mumbai this week,” said the triumphant doctor.

Medical marvel
Considering her weight, surgery will be risky, but if successful, it will be nothing short of a medical marvel. “Her life is at risk. She is a living time bomb. We have to take special precautions in this case to ensure there are no problems in the lung or the risk of a blood clot,” said Lakdawala, who is planning a series of surgeries over the span of a year. He is contemplating using methods such as the balloon procedure or perhaps sleeve surgery. While the first surgery itself will not lead to much weight loss, after two or three years, he anticipates that Iman could shed as much as 400 kg.

Special arrangements
At 500 kg, Iman does not travel light, and several special arrangements will have to be made to bring her to Mumbai. “Due to her heavy weight, we can’t bring her in a normal plane, so we are trying to arrange a private chartered flight instead,” said Dr Lakdawala. In addition, a special bed will also have to be made, on which Iman can be carried out of the house and into the aircraft.

Official record holder
Weight: 291.6 kg
Who: Pauline Potter (47)
Where: Sacramento, California
(As per the official website of Guinness Book of World Records)

500 kg
Iman's weight, which is higher than the current Guinness World Record

Number of years she has been bed-ridden

Expected weight loss (kg) from the surgery in India

First Published: 07 December, 2016 08:23 IST

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