Big spat over Eman Ahmed’s 300kg weight loss

Eman Ahmed in an image taken from video posted by the?? Saifee Hospital in Mumbai on April 19, 2017, after she lost more than 300 kilos. Photo: Supplied Eman Ahmed in an image taken from video posted by the?? Saifee Hospital in Mumbai on April 19, 2017, after she lost more than 300 kilos. Photo: Supplied

Delhi: “Liar” and “hogwash” are some of the words being exchanged in a bitter spat that between the sister of a woman dubbed “the heaviest woman in the world” and the doctors at a Mumbai hospital who have been treating her for weight loss.

Egyptian Eman Ahmed Abd el-Aty, 36, made global headlines for weighing 500 kilograms before she was admitted to Saifee Hospital in Mumbai on February 11, with her sister Shaimaa Selim??? by her side.

The famous bariatric??? surgeon leading the team, Dr Muffazal Lakdawala???, told Selim recently that she could take her sister home given that, after treatment including bariatric surgery, her weight had fallen to around 172 kilos – even lower than the 300 kilos which the hospital had set as a target.

“They told me they would remotely monitor her condition under an Egyptian doctor but she could go home as no further treatment was required,” Selim told Fairfax Media.

During her treatment, many pictures were taken of Eman being able, after years, to raise her arm to her face and blow a kiss to Dr Lakdawala and the doctors gathered around her specially made outsized bed.

But now the mood has turned ugly with Selim claiming that her sister hasn’t lost as much weight as the doctors claim and the doctors dismissing this as “complete hogwash”.

In a video posted on Facebook, she said her sister was “very sick”.

“Since this [surgery], she is not able to talk, she is connected to this feeding tube, she doesn’t talk at all???.Also she is not able to move, she looks bluish, no improvement,” Selim wrote.

“These people care about show and propaganda only, and to appear on mass media. They do not care about the patient.”

Selim dismissed the hospital’s weight loss claim. “They treated the water retention. That’s why she looks slimmer. Where is the proof of weight loss? It’s a joke. You can’t lose that much in two months.”

Dr Lakdawala’s team has angrily rejected the allegations. To disprove Selim’s claim that the treatment had caused a blot clot in her sister’s brain, the hospital conducted a CT scan on Tuesday.

They said the result showed that the only damage to her brain was from an earlier blood clot in Egypt which had caused a stroke and was previously known.

“Our CT scan machine can’t take weight over 204kg. The fact that she underwent a successful scan today is proof that she has lost weight,” said Huzaifa Shehabi the hospital’s chief operating officer. He added that Ahmed had to be discharged as her treatment was over and there was no point keeping her in hospital any longer.

The dozen or so doctors who have been treating the multiple ailments caused by her condition say they are stunned at the claims. Most of them have withdrawn from treating her, unless there is an emergency.

“This is my way of protesting against these allegations. I and the rest of the team are hurt and shocked at what has happened,” said Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, a member of the team.

Dr Lakdawala said Selim only made her allegations after doctors said that Eman could leave India. “The pictures don’t lie, the pictures can’t lie,” he said.

In the pictures and videos posted on the hospital’s Save Eman campaign page – set up to raise funds – she certainly looks much slimmer and can be seen sitting up in bed watching TV and even fitting into a wheelchair.

In an April 24 tweet, Dr Lakdawala made his frustration public: “Shaimaa Selim u killed humanity with 1 swell [sic] blow may only God help you realise what u have done I will continue 2 treat and pray 4 Eman”.

Diagnosed with elephantiasis as a child, Eman had not left her home in Alexandria for 20 years. She had to be hoisted by crane from her bedroom onto a specially strengthened truck that took her to Cairo airport.

Since her family is poor, Dr Lakdawala waived his fee. The Indian government also waived its rules by issuing a visa to her without requiring her presence at the embassy.

The cost of treatment and travel have been met by Selim’s fund-raising efforts and by the hospital’s own campaign.

Eman’s own views on the dispute are not known. Following a stroke some years ago, she is partially paralysed and can only mumble a few words.

Selim is not keen to take her sister home. “I want her treated here. I don’t know what’s happened in her brain, she is still very sick, she has an oxygen mask at night, she cannot swallow,” she said.

Selim seemed particularly upset at the news that her sister could be discharged and, contradictorily, both attacked the hospital and wanted it to continue caring for her sister.

Disha Shetty, a journalist with Mumbai newspaper DNA India, who has met Selim on several occasions, said the root cause of the altercation seemed to be Selim’s “high expectations”.

“The doctors only said they would try to make her sister lose weight. They didn’t even promise how much, just that they would do their best. They never said they could make her walk or talk. I think it’s a question of Selim’s expectations and the fact that no doctor in Egypt has offered to take her on, so she is reluctant to go back,” Shetty said.

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