An Egyptian woman, Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, weighs about 1,100 pounds and is believed to be the world’s heaviest woman. The 36-year-old had not left her house in 25 years before a trip to Mumbai, India, for bariatric surgery.
Before undergoing the surgery, Abd El Aty can consume only liquids for 25 days in order to lose 110 pounds. “Only after all the diseases related to obesity are brought under control and Eman loses weight will we conduct the surgery,” surgeon Muffazal Lakdawala, a weight loss specialist, told the Daily Mail. Lakdawala hopes that the surgery will help Abd El Aty lose another 330 pounds, which would allow her to sit up and feed herself. Then, over the course of several years, it would bring her weight down to 220 pounds.
The road to bariatric surgery has been tumultuous for Abd El Aty, who was diagnosed with a parasitic disease at birth that led her to gain so much weight that she was no longer able to stand up by age 11 and was forced to crawl on her hands and knees. She then suffered a pulmonary stroke that caused paralysis in her right leg and arm, forcing her to drop out of primary school and leaving her bedridden, all of which exacerbated her conditions.
After approaching Lakdawala about the weight loss procedure, Abd El Aty faced several obstacles, as no airline was able to transport her without special accommodations, and her initial request for a visa to travel to India for the surgery was denied. Her sister then tweeted a plea to India’s foreign minister, who approved Abd El Aty’s visa. Her family also issued an online plea to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, asking for medical assistance for Abd El Aty’s flight.
The flight required creating a special bed to transport her in, as well as a portable ventilator, defibrillator, oxygen cylinder, and intubation laryngoscope. “Given the fact that she is so heavy, and not moved for the last 25 years, she is at a high risk [of suffering] a pulmonary embolism,” said a spokesperson from the Mumbai hospital. “[She] has been put on blood thinners to try and minimize the chances of such an eventuality during her transfer.”
Lakdawala added that Abd El Aty’s medical complexities made the transportation a high-risk event.
But bariatric surgery offers Abd El Aty a chance at a normal life, which she’s been deprived of for over two decades.