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Controversy in the treatment of world’s heaviest woman

Controversy has arisen as Mumbai doctors treating the world’s heaviest woman are being accused of dishonesty and neglect by the patient’s family.

Copyright: <a href=''>niyazz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Eman Abd El Aty, an Egyptian national, was flown to the Saifee Hospital in Mumbai on February 11 to receive bariatric surgery. Specialist equipment, including a modified airbus, was required for the journey.

Eman’s treatment seems to have gone well; at least until now. In a curious development, Eman’s sister Shaimaa Selim is accusing doctors of neglecting her sister, as well as lying about her treatments and weight loss. Previous reports have said Eman was losing the weight at an astonishing rate. Initial weight loss was a goal needed to be accomplished before any surgery could be performed as her weight at the time — said to be around 500kg — made it impossible for her to be transported around the hospital, as well as unable to be supported by the surgery table.

Her final weight loss was said by Chief Operating Officer Huzaifa Shehabi — involved in the team treating Eman — to have reduced her weight to under 200kg. This is a considerable amount of weight lost and whilst Eman is still classified as obese, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Eman’s progress has not stopped a bitter battle of words between her sister and her doctors.  Making matters worse is the visibility of the spat, which has been largely in the public eye as it has taken place on social media.

Shaimaa accuses the doctors of lying about Eman’s weight loss, She also implies they have been administering medication to “stop her brain activity”. These accusations are not sitting well with the doctors involved in the treatment, many of whom  have been massively offended after spending countless hours providing round the clock treatment.

Shaimaa said in a video that she believes there is no improvement in her sister

“Everything was a lie. God forgive them for what they have done… Eman did not lose 240 kg or 260 kg… Eman does not talk at all. She is unable to move and looks bluish. No improvement.”

Dr Lakdawada, one of Eman’s doctors, replied to these comments via twitter:

“Shaimaa Selim, you killed humanity with one swell blow. May only God help you when you realize what you have done. I will continue to treat and pray for Eman.”

The disagreements between the hospital staff and Eman’s sister has culminated in Dr. Aparna Govil Bhaskar, the chief bariatric surgeon, officially resigning from Eman’s care team. Dr Bhaskar resigned in protest of Shaimaa’s accusations. Dr Bhaskhar says assaults on a doctor’s reputation are among the worse kind of attacks a doctor can face.

Many of the health issues Eman faces result from pre-existing conditions. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension and sleep deprivation. Alongside this, a CT scan revealed scar epilepsy, which may account for paralysis and convulsions. However, Shaimaa attributes these symptoms to medication administered by the doctors.

The doctors are suggesting that Shaimaa’s protests and criticisms are less to do with Eman’s well-being and more to do with the fact her treatment in India has been deemed complete by the hospital. This means she is able to return to Egypt, where he family would be financially responsible for her treatment again. Saifee Hospital has currently shouldered the majority of the costs, now in excess of Rs three crore (roughly $467,000 USD).

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