British doctors separate conjoined twins

Sept. 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Infant conjoined twin sisters from Sudan have been successfully separated at a British hospital, their parents say.

Eleven-month-old Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who had been joined at their heads, were separated Aug. 15 following a series of surgeries at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, the BBC reported Sunday. The babies, who were brought to England with the help of the Facing the World charity after being born by Caesarean section in Khartoum, appear to have avoided suffering any neurological side effects, the report said.

The British news network said the success was a rarity. Only 5 percent of conjoined twins are fused at the head. Forty percent are either stillborn or die during labor and another third die within a day.

"We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls," quoted the girls' parents, who are both doctors, as saying. "We are very grateful to all the doctors who volunteered their time and to Facing the World for organizing all the logistics and for paying for the surgery.

"We feel very lucky that our girls have been able to have the surgery that they needed, but we also know of other children who need complete sponsorship and families who are searching for someone to help them."

While so far the infants respond to stimuli and other tests as they did prior to being separated but it will take time before doctors are sure there was no damage, the BBC said.

"The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare," said David Dunaway, the lead clinician at the hospital and Facing the World trustee. "The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls."

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