While Mumbai’s Saifee hospital, where she was being treated, claimed she lost 242kg, her sister Shaimaa Selim last Monday called Saifee hospital surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala and the hospital ‘liars,’ alleging they “put Eman on massive medication to stop her brain activity”.
What followed was a a drama of allegations and counter allegations, which is set to end now as she moves to Abu Dhabi for further treatment. However, all seemed to have ended well, as Eman gave a teary-eyed thank you to Dr Lakdawala on May 3.
Here are the twists and turns in Eman’s journey in Mumbai:
February 11: A 504-kg Eman landed in Mumbai. After repeated attempts to avail medical aid from doctors in Egypt and Greece, Eman’s sister Shaimaa started an online campaign, which caught the attention of Mumbai’s Dr Muffazal Lakdawala. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who during her stay at AIIMS Delhi, communicated with the officials of Indian embassy in Egypt, who had rejected Eman’s visa application to come to India for treatment.
Lying in a specially created box bed by artisans of Egypt travelled in Egyptair freighter aircraft airbus 300-600 to Mumbai, Eman was brought to the hospital in an open to sky truck, covered by all sides for security purposes.
February 16: Eman thanked her doctors and the governments of India and Egypt for their help, in a video message recorded from her bed at Saifee Hospital. In the video, the 36-year-old expressed her gratitude, saying she could feel a difference between Egypt and India and that she felt much better here
March 7: After losing almost 100kg with a special diet, Eman underwent a bariatric surgery -- sleeve gastrectomy. The size of her stomach was reduced by around 75%, leaving a narrow gastric “tube” or “sleeve.
Doctors also removed a large portion of the 36-year-old’s stomach fat and limited her food consumption ability.
March 18: The doctors claimed Eman’s weight was down to 358kg
April 12: Doctors said Eman has lost 242kg, almost half her weight. The weight loss, said doctors, had also dramatically improved her health — Eman’s heart, kidneys and lungs are functioning better and her water retention levels were under control, they said.
April 22: The hospital released pictures and videos of “smiling” Eman. The images, shot on April 18, show 242-kg Eman Ahmed sitting in a wheelchair for a long period of time, something that was impossible for her three months ago, say doctors. They said Eman has now been shifted out of the room specially designed for her onto a normal hospital bed.
April 24: Eman’s sister Shaimaa Salim called surgeon Dr Muffazal Lakdawala and the hospital “liars” and claimed they had “put Eman on massive medication to stop her brain activity”. Officials said this was a tactic by the family to delay Eman’s discharge because no medical facility in Egypt is willing to provide free medical services. Officials from Saifee Hospital said they have spent more than Rs 2 crore on Eman’s travel, treatment and surgery and separately collected more money through donations around the world.
April 25: Eman’s doctors say they will no longer attend to her. Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, the chief bariatric surgeon, officially resigned from the team in protest against Shaimaa’s allegations. “What has happened is very sad. We are deeply hurt. This is the worst form of assault a doctor can face. An assault doesn’t always have to be physical. By resigning from the team, I am protesting against this form of assault,” she said.
April 26: Doctors shared a video in order to prove she is healthy after her sister alleged the hospital’s claims about her weight loss is a lie and that her health was deteriorating. Doctors say her sister might shift her to Abu Dhabi for further treatment. Doctors from VPS Healthcare in Abu Dhabi, who were contacted by Eman’s sister Shaimaa Selim, check her condition and discuss the case with her doctors from Mumbai’s Saifee hospital.
April 27: Doctors at Saifee Hospital say Eman Ahmed, who came to Mumbai on a chartered cargo plane, would be flown out to Abu Dhabi in a business class seat.
April 28: Preparation to move Eman to Abu Dhabi-based VPS Healthcare begin.
April 29: Eman’s sister coached her to be hostile to us, say staff. Dr Sameer Al Ghamdi,a member of Eman’s medical team, and who understands Arabic, said Selim ‘believed’ that her sister would have started walking after her surgery on March 9. “She is upset that once Eman returns to Egypt, nobody will help her. Selim has asked to talk or smile at the staff,” he said.
May 3: Doctors say Eman Ahmed will be flown out of Mumbai on Thursday. VPS Healthcare say a team of nine specialists, including an intensivist, paramedics and nurses, will accompany Eman on her six-hour long journey in an air ambulance to Abu Dhabi. A special hydraulic stretcher imported from Italy to transport Eman.
She won’t undergo any more weight loss surgery, say doctors. “She wasn’t smiling at me for the past four-five days after this controversy with her sister started. But on Wednesday, as I was just about to leave her bedside, she held my hand with tears in her eyes. We will miss her, she was like a younger sister to all of us,” Dr Mufazzal Lakdawala says.
May 4: Eman Ahmed leaves Mumbai, but not before drama over VPS Healthcare’s refusal to sign documents made by Saifee Hospital. Issue gets resolved after state health minister’s intervention. Dr Deepak Sawant says sister “thanked the doctors at the hospital for their help”.
After commenting on Eman’s case and targetting Dr Lakdawala, author Shobhaa De posted a picture with Eman’s sister Shaimaa Selim on Instagram