World’s heaviest woman's sibling seeks help from UAE hospital

Eman, a resident of Alexandria, Egypt was lifted via a crane from her apartment and flown to Mumbai on February 10 to be operated on March 7

A nurse works in a hospital room for privately insured patients in this posed picture taken at the hospital of the Canton of Nidwalden in Stans image used for illustrative purpose

A nurse works in a hospital room for privately insured patients in this posed picture taken at the hospital of the Canton of Nidwalden in Stans image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017

Dubai: The sister of the world’s heaviest woman who underwent a bariatric surgery in Mumbai has urged a UAE hospital to treat her and alleged that the Indian hospital has failed to bring down her weight.

In an interview from Mumbai, Shaima Selim told Gulf News that Eman Ahmad Abdul Atti, 36, who previously weighed 500 kilograms, has not lost any real weight. However, Dr Mufazzal Lakdawala, the doctor leading the woman’s treatment, rejected the sister’s claims that his hospital had lied about the amount of weight Eman had lost. In his daily update on #Save Eman on Twitter, he said the patient lost nearly half her weight and came to 250kg.

Her sister, Selim, 34, meanwhile has written to VPS Healthcare Group’s Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi that had initially offered to do the bariatric surgery here, seeking to transfer her sister to the UAE capital to continue the treatment.

Dr Shajjir Gaffar, CEO of VPS Healthcare for Dubai and Northern Emirates, confirmed receiving a written appeal for intervention from Selim. He told Gulf News: “The Burjeel Hosptial bariatric surgeon, intensivist and senior management team had initially visited Eman in Alexandria and she was to come to Abu Dhabi for treatment. However, the family changed its mind and instead took Eman to Mumbai. Last week, we have received a letter from Eman’s sister and are in the process of studying that,” he said on Tuesday.

In a highly publicised event covered by global media, Eman, a resident of Alexandria, Egypt was lifted via a crane from her apartment and flown to Mumbai on February 10 to be operated on March 7.

In an interview last week to Gulf News, Selim alleged that Dr Lakdawala told her he would soon be discharging Eman so that she can continue her treatment in Egypt. “The doctor had promised dramatic weight loss and promised my sister would get up and dance with a famous Bollywood hero. Now a month later after the surgery and after getting publicity, he wants us to go back. Right now, my sister is not capable of any independent work, she can’t eat, she can’t sit, or go to the toilet. She gets frequent epileptic fits and this is not the condition in which he had promised to return her to Egypt. In our meetings, I refuse to sign any paper as I am scared he might get me to sign her discharge papers. My sister is always under sedation, no one has really checked her actual condition,” she alleged.

Selim has trashed the reports that the woman had lost half her body weight.

“It was publicised that my sister supposedly weighed 480kg. This is a lie. In the first place, no one ever weighed my sister either before or after the surgery. The hospital does not have a weighing machine to accommodate her. What they are claiming about weight loss to the media is all guess work. The truth is that my sister suffered a paralytic stroke within days of arriving at the hospital. She was put on heavy sedation and intubated for some time. Then she lost weight prior to the surgery due to heavy diuretics and that was mostly her water retention. She was fed through a tube so obviously there was some weight loss. The surgery was fine but after that my sister had some sort of a blood clot or epileptic fits that required heavy medication. Before the surgery, my sister could talk and smile, but now she does not respond. I have not been given a proper medical report. The hospital does not have an open CT machine to know what is happening in her brain and I am desperate to save her life,” she said.

Selim claimed that Dr Lakdawala who visited Eman in Egypt had exploited her sister’s situation to gain publicity. “I should have known earlier, but I was misled to believe that Dr Lakdawala genuinely cared for my sister. The signs were there for me to see. In our apartment complex in Alexandria, we have a huge elevator that can take Eman. However, Dr Lakdawala insisted on lifting her out of her window on specially constructed platform with a crane as this could be easily covered by television cameras.”


Claims and counter claims

Doctor: Pictures don’t lie

In videos provided last week by Saifee Hospital, where the 36-year-old had bariatric surgery last month, a visibly slimmer Eman could be seen sitting up and smiling while listening to music. In an accompanying statement, doctors said the woman, who had not left her home in Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria for two decades until she arrived in Mumbai, had lost 250kg.

But in a video posted on Facebook and reported widely by Indian media on Tuesday, Selim accuses the hospital of lying, saying her sister had not lost as much weight as doctors had claimed. “The pictures don’t lie, the pictures can’t lie,” Lakdawala said, suggesting that Selim had only raised complaints after doctors suggested that Eman could soon leave India, where she has been receiving treatment free of charge, to return to Egypt. Lakdawala said that Eman was due to have a CT scan on Tuesday to determine the cause of her right-sided paralysis and regular convulsions.

He added that there was not much more he could do for her in terms of further weight loss and she would need to see a specialist neurologist to help with her other ailments.

‘Hospital wants to abandon my sister’

Selim said the family had shared Eman’s detailed medical history with Dr Lakdawala before she left Egypt. “My sister had a paralytic stroke at 11 and the fact that she had genetic issues that were causing her obesity was also discussed. About a week ago, Dr Lakdawala asked me to arrange to take my sister back to Egypt as he said there was nothing more to be done. He told me the genetic disease could only be treated in the US and her paralysis was an impediment. I refuse to go back with my sister in such a state. She is semi-conscious. The doctor knew about all her medical conditions before, so why is he telling me to take her to America? The doctor is unable to get any more publicity from this case and wants to abandon my sister. Where will I go now?” she said.

Returning to Egypt is not an option for the sisters. “Who will care for her in Egypt. They have not even given me a full medical report. I am determined to get my sister treated and save her life,” said Selim.

Last week, Selim says the hospital promised to give her an updated complete report only after the Egyptian Consulate representative intervened in the case. Selim says she demanded that an Egyptian neurosurgeon, Dr Mohammad Said, should independently assess Eman. “Even now the hospital has extracted a written statement from me that if I discuss the medical and technical details with any media, they would move the patient out of the hospital within six hours and would not be responsible for her,” added Selim.

“I am worried that my sister’s life is in danger and I really want someone to help her out,” Selim told Gulf News.

— With inputs from AFP

By Suchitra Bajpai ?Chaudhary Senior Reporter

Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.

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