Surgeons decided to separate conjoined twins for free because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for the operation.
The twin girls were born at S S Hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, with a combined weight of just seven pounds and were joined at the stomach.
Doctors advised their parents it would be best for them to be separated, but they couldn’t afford to pay for the operation.
Taking into account what was best for the girls as well as the parents’ financial situation, the medical staff decided to perform the procedure free of charge.
The parents were understandably anxious about the risks involved with the surgery, but doctors convinced them to go ahead with it.
The twins were dehydrated before the operation, which was performed and assisted with five surgeons, ten doctors and 15 nurses.
At just three days old, the yet-to-be-named girls underwent the painstaking operation which saw them anaesthetised at the exact same time -the operation was made even more difficult due to the tiny blood supply held by the girls.
During the five-hour surgery, medics separated the twins’ breastbones and livers.
Dr Vaibhav Pandey, assistant professor of paediatric surgery, explained how the staff are not faced with this kind of challenge often:
It was one of the rarest operations our hospital does.
Thankfully the medics worked their magic and the operation was a success. To celebrate and commemorate the monumental moment, the staff took a post-op selfie:
Hopefully they were able to have a well deserved break afterwards!
I am very happy that both survived in spite of the long operation and the children being weak. It was a challenging task.
The now-separated twins are recovering from surgery and are said to be doing well. They’re set to be discharged from hospital later this week, after which they’ll head home before finally being named during traditional rituals.
The reason medical staff are so scarcely faced with this kind of situation is because conjoined twins are so rare in the first place.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, conjoined twins are believed to occur just once every 200,000 live births.
Approximately 40-to-60 per cent of conjoined twins are stillborn, while 35 per cent survive just one day. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between five and 25 per cent, meaning the doctors at S S Hospital have likely given the baby girls a much greater chance at life.
Every single member of the medical staff involved did an incredible job, hopefully the twins will make a perfect recovery!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.