NEW DELHI: Ailing Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj intervened to swiftly get a medical visa for an Egyptian who's likely the heaviest woman in the world.

"I am mighty impressed with the promptness shown by the minister even though she is fighting kidney failure and is hospitalised. Thanks to her, Iman will now be in Mumbai by next week," said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala to a medical news web site, referring to the Egyptian, Iman Ahmad Abdulati, who weighs 500 kgs.

Swaraj made sure the medical visa went through in under 24 hours, after the doctor tweeted her that the Indian embassy in Cairo had refused to give a visa to Abdulati who is unable to move from her Alexandria residence and travel to Cairo.

Abdulati will now be airlifted to Mumbai for surgery in a specially arranged chartered flight, said the medical news website My Medical Mantra.

"For 20 years, she didn't step out of her house. Her family had tried many doctors there for medical help but were denied. It was her sister who got in touch with me after she heard of me from a family friend, (on) whom I had operated for obesity," Lakdawala told My Medical Mantra.

Iman's sister Chaymaa' got in touch with Dr Lakdawala in October. He is a renowned obesity surgeon who has had several ministers as patients, including Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu.

Physicians in Egypt told Al web site last month that Abdulati suffers from a disruption of the glands as well as from a parasite called elephantiasis. The former causes her body to store huge amounts of water and the latter causes extreme swelling. The combination of these two things has meant a huge amount of excess weight.

After Abdulati's family sent Dr Lakdawala all her medical reports, he started sending requests for monetary help to his friends.

"The family is poor and cannot afford the cost of a private chartered flight to Mumbai from Cairo. While we asked the family to make her passport and arrange for visa, I started collecting funds," said Lakdawala to My Medical Mantra.

Still, having managed to collect funds and made travel arrangements for Abdulati, her family and the doctor faced another unexpected obstacle - a visa for Abdulati to travel to India.

"It was like a roadblock for us. Embassy refused to budge and we needed visa for her to fly to Mumbai," Lakdawala said.

That's when he tweeted minister Swaraj.

Sitting in her hospital room, Swaraj replied promptly.

The 36-year-old Abdulati has not left her house since she tipped the scales at 500 kg, almost 25 years ago, when she was 11 years old. Now, Abdulati gets to come to Mumbai where Dr. Lakdawala will operate on her at the hospital he founded, the Centre for Obesity and Digestive Surgery.

For Dr Lakdawala, the journey only really begins now.

Courtesy TOI