Thirty-six-year-old Eman Ahmed weighs 1,102 pounds (500 kg), making her the world’s heaviest woman currently alive today. The Egyptian woman has mostly been bedridden for the last two decades, and after suffering a stroke two years ago, she is unable to speak or move. However, a report from CNN says that Ahmed is due to receive lifesaving surgeries that may have her losing close to 900 pounds.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Rosalie Bradford, who died in 2006, holds the record as the world’s heaviest woman, having supposedly reached a peak weight of 1,200 pounds in January 1987. The current record for heaviest living woman belongs to another American, Pauline Potter, who was weighed at 647 pounds in July 2012.
As such, Eman Ahmed has yet to be certified as a Guinness record-holder, but if her family’s claims are accurate, she would outweigh Potter by more than 400 pounds. Moreover, it’s been a long battle for Ahmed, who has reportedly suffered from thyroid problems since childhood.
Eman’s sister Shaimaa Ahmed told CNN that when the thyroid problems made Eman “lethargic,” she had no choice but to stop attending school in the fifth grade. Her weight at that time also made it extremely difficult for her to move around; as she was unable to stand, she had to scoot around on her knees for movement.
“She would use her knees to reach the car in the parking lot and we would drive her across Alexandria and the coast without leaving the car.”
Shaimaa also says that Eman had “always remained patient and funny” despite her condition, and had always held out hope that she would one day lose weight. Things, however, took a turn for the worse in recent years, when Eman Ahmed had reached a weight of 660 pounds. After going on a strict diet, Eman’s cholesterol levels had caused her to lose consciousness, and she was then found to have suffered from a stroke.
— ATV (@atvpakistan) December 12, 2016
Eman had reached her present weight after her body began to retain water in the aftermath of her stroke. Moreover, while the doctors the Ahmed family consulted with weren’t able to figure out why she was gaining so much weight, a new ray of hope came about when Mumbai-based surgeon Dr. Muffazal Lakdawala learned of Eman’s plight through a social media initiative launched by Shaimaa. Dr. Lakdawala, in turn, launched his own fundraising campaign to allow Eman Ahmed to fly to India and undergo a series of surgeries that have “never been done before.”
“The family is poor and cannot afford the cost of a private chartered flight to Mumbai from Cairo,” he told My Medical Mantra in an interview. “While we asked the family to make her passport and arrange for visa, I started collecting funds.”
All in all, Dr. Lakdawala hopes that the procedures will allow Eman Ahmed, the world’s heaviest woman, to lose over 80 percent of her body weight and go back down to less than 220 pounds.
“She is battling with her life every single day … Right now she is like a living bombshell, which could blow up on her any moment.”
The Ahmed family experienced a setback when, due to Eman’s inability to visit the Indian embassy in person, her visa application was denied. However, Dr. Lakdawala had explained the situation via Twitter to India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and she had agreed to expedite Eman’s visa on the basis of humanitarian grounds just two hours after the doctor had sent out the tweet.
— NewsGram (@NewsGram1) December 7, 2016
That wasn’t the only challenge Dr. Lakdawala had faced ahead of the operation. Due to Eman Ahmed’s size, it would be difficult to have her board a plane on a stretcher. He told CNN that he has made the necessary preparations for her flight to India, including speaking to airlines and looking for flights that would allow her to lie horizontally, and ensuring that she is taken care of by an all-female team, as Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country.
“I will be the only male when it eventually comes to operating on her.”
It may take a while, however, for the operations on Eman Ahmed to be completed. Dr. Lakdawala says that reducing the world’s heaviest woman to a weight (at least 220 pounds/100 kg) where she can bend would require two operations, and a wait of at least three and a half years. She may also have to stay for several more months in Mumbai for further monitoring, should the surgery be successful.
[Featured Image by Micolas/Shutterstock]