In a major sign of progress, Eman Ahmed ,who was till now being fed with the help of a food pipe for the last three months, has now started eating by mouth.
"We started with a few spoons. Now she can eat 15 spoons every day and the good news is that for the last two days she is able to eat half of her meal by herself," said Yassin Al Shahat, chief medical officer at Burjeel Hospital where the 36-year-old Egyptian woman who till three months back was known to be the world’s heaviest woman, has been undergoing treatment after she was she was transferred from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi earlier in May.
Earlier, doctors at Saifee Hospital, where Eman was boarded after being carried in from Alexandria, had put her on a liquid intravenous diet fearing she might aspirate if fed orally, owing to her neurological difficulties.
With VPS Healthcare in control of Eman's treatment, a multi-disciplinary team of 20 doctors including orthopaedic surgeons, cardiologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologist, plastic surgeon, physiotherapists, and dieticians, is treating Eman currently, and has charted out a three-stage model for Eman's treatment and recovery.
While the short-term plan includes treating intense issues like UTI, bedsores, rehabilitation, speech therapy and psychological support, the mid-term phase will be an extension of first stage, especially rehabilitation.
"By the end of this stage we expect that Eman will be able to feed herself by mouth and use an electric wheelchair after achieving reasonable weight loss from a strict diet regimen," added Al Shahat and Nehad Halawa, head of the treating team.
In the long-term plan "after Eman's complete stabilization", doctors at Burjeell will attempt remedial surgeries on Eman's lower limbs and plastic surgery on superfluous skin after which aortic-valve replacement may be possibly performed.
In the three weeks that Eman has been kept in Abu Dhabi, doctors can sense that there have been noteworthy improvements in her psychological condition given her "positive reactions" to her environments
"We can see her smiling, watching TV and communicating with visitors. Her speech and voice are clearing steadily and she is showing some movements in the lower limbs, which have not happened in the last two years since she had a stroke," added Al Shahat. While the strength in her right arm has almost been restored to normal, she is able to sustain an unsupported sitting position on the bed for a small-time span of 10-15 minutes.
"Her EEG done yesterday is normal, and nerve conduction study gives hope for further improvement," added Al Shahat.
Eman's improvement brings much "relief" to her younger sister Shaimaa who has been by Eman's side during her journey from Alexandria to Mumbai to Abu Dhabi, Eman was also in for a pleasant surprise when her mother Sanaa and niece Hour (Shaimaa's two-year-old-daughter) reached Abu Dhabi on Sunday.