Brought to Mumbai from Egypt on February 11 for a bariatric surgery, the world's heaviest woman, Eman Ahmed, has seen her weight go from 500 kg to 171 kg. But what should have been the celebration of a medical success is now mired in controversy with the patient's sister alleging that Ahmed's condition hadn't improved and the resignation of a doctor from the team that carried out the procedure.
Ahmed's sister, Shaimaa Salim, shared a video on Tuesday alleging that the doctors had cheated them. She claimed that her sister wasn't recovering and in fact, her condition was deteriorating by the day. The video went viral and received reactions from across the world, many of which were critical of the doctors.
Even as the debate continues on the woman's condition, one of the doctors attending to Ahmed, Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, who is the section chief of bariatric surgery at Mumbai's Saifee Hospital, wrote a Facebook post saying she was resigning.
Read her full post here:
In a conversation with Scoopwhoop News, Dr Bhasker said that considering Eman's speedy recovery and her response to the medication, the team of doctors had discussed the possibility of discharging her soon around two weeks ago.
"We did not give a specific discharge date to Shaimaa. Since Eman as recovering well, we suggested that she might be able to back to Egypt soon. However, Shaimaa seemed scared of the idea of taking back Eman home. Also, there were her financial concerns as everything here was being done pro-bono, which may not continue if they go back," Dr Bhasker said.
Transporting Ahmed from Egypt in a cargo plane and her subsequent admission in the hospital cost a few lakh. Ahmed's stay in the hospital for the last 3 months was free and was partly funded by crowd-funding website bitgiving.com.
"The cost of her surgery and the medicines stand at an approximate Rs 1 crore. And as for her return journey, we will be taking care of it. Our team has also spoken to a team in US, which would be developing a drug for the gene disorder for people like Eman," Dr Bhasker said.
The surgeon said that Ahmed was brought to India for a weight loss surgery and now that it was done successfully, she needs physiotherapy and to be in her home to make her feel better. Dr Bhasker said those were the reasons for doctors to suggest that Ahmed might be able to go back to Egypt soon.
In her video, Shaimaa claimed that Eman was put on heavy medication and had hardly lost any weight. Dr Bhasker refuted the claims and said there had a drastic improvement in her condition.
"Eman is a critical case. When a team of doctors visited her in Egypt in January she was suffering from kidney failure, heart failure, elephantiasis, hyperthyroidism and the right side of her body was paralysed. In such a case, when Eman was brought to India, she was put on heavy medications. While these medications have reduced in number drastically, how else do you think we could have treated her?" Bhasker said.
She also addressed the allegations that Ahmed was undergoing more convulsions after the treatment. Dr Bhasker said the convulsions were the result of a stroke Ahmed suffered 3 years ago and that the team of doctors had been constantly working on it. Some of the pictures shared by Shaimaa were clicked post just after a convulsion and made Ahmed look in worse condition, Dr Bhasker said.
The surgeon said that since Ahmed's case was a first of its kind, even they had been apprehensive about the results. She said that the team's original goal had been to reduce Ahmed's weight by half, but they were surprised that she had shed more than 260 kg.
Earlier, Dr Lakdawala also explained that Eman might be the only person in the world to be suffering from a rare gene disorder.
"If Shaimaa claims that Eman has undergone no weight loss, then what about the pictures and her recent videos? There is a contrasting difference the photos. While it is true that Eman underwent a series of convulsions, they were also a part of her body's response mechanism. She hasn't had any convulsions in the last two weeks," said Bhasker.
Dr Bhasker, who is also a student of Dr Muzzafal Lakdawala, the chief bariatric surgeon in Eman's case, claimed that he was also shocked by the video. She said that he along with the Consulate General Of Egypt, Ahmed Khalid, spoke to Shaimaa. Shaimaa allegedly called all of them "liars" and accused them of cheating the family, Dr Bhasker said.
"Shaimaa wasn't present with Eman half the time. In the course of the last 3 months, it is our nursing staff and the doctors who have been beside Eman," Dr Bhasker said.
The surgeon also said that they had doubts about whether Shaimaa was attempting to leave her sister in India and return to Egypt.
"It seems like she wants to leave Eman here and leave. A few weeks back she even booked a one-way ticket to Egypt without giving us a return date. To which we protested as no patient can be left without an attending family member. Was Shaimaa planning on leaving Eman here? Maybe," Dr Bhasker said.
(Feature image source: PTI)