Con­joined Bhutanese twins sep­a­rated in Aus­tralia surgery

Millennium Post - - World -

MEL­BOURNE: Aus­tralian sur­geons on Fri­day suc­cess­fully sep­a­rated 15-month-old Bhutanese twins, Nima and Dawa, who had been joined at the torso.

The team of more than 20 doc­tors and nurses spent six hours op­er­at­ing on the pair, who shared a liver but no other ma­jor or­gans, to the re­lief of the sur­geons.

"We didn't find sur­prises," said Joe Crameri, who led the surgery at the Royal Chil­dren's Hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne.

"We are here ear­lier be­cause there weren't any things in­side the girls' tum­mies that we weren't re­ally pre­pared for," he told re­porters.

"We saw two young girls who were very ready for their surgery, who were able to cope very well with the surgery and are cur­rently in our re­cov­ery do­ing very well," he told re­porters.

He said the next 24 to 48 hours would be crit­i­cal to their re­cov­ery, but was op­ti­mistic about the out­come.

Nima and Dawa, and their mother Bhum­chu Zangmo, ar­rived in Aus­tralia a month ago with the help of an Aus­tralian char­ity, but doc­tors had de­layed the surgery un­til Fri­day to en­sure the twins were well-enough nour­ished to sup­port the op­er­a­tion.

The girls were known to share a liver, but it was not known be­fore Fri­day whether they also shared part of the bowel, which would have com­pli­cated the surgery.

Crameri said the girls' bow­els were a bit in­ter­twined they were not con­nected "in any ma­jor way".

A pho­to­graph re­leased by the hos­pi­tal showed four sur­geons care­fully lift­ing one of the twins away from the other on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble as the pair be­gan their in­de­pen­dent lives.

The girls and their mother spent the past month at a re­treat out­side Mel­bourne run by the Chil­dren First Foun­da­tion, which raised money to bring the fam­ily to Aus­tralia for the surgery.

El­iz­a­beth Lodge of the foun­da­tion told na­tional broad­caster ABC be­fore the surgery the twins al­ready had their own per­son­al­i­ties.

"Nima's the ro­bust one. She tends to ... al­ways be on the top, pulling rank, as we say, and Dawa's more placid," she said.

"It will be re­ally in­ter­est­ing to see what will hap­pen once the girls are sep­a­rated," Lodge said, adding that the twins were "good mates".

Bhutan is a poor Hi­malayan king­dom where doc­tors did not have the ex­per­tise to sep­a­rate the girls, who were joined from the chest to the waist.

AP/PTI

The 15-month-old girls be­fore surgery (above); the sep­a­rated twins af­ter the surgery at the Royal Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal Mel­bourne, on Fri­day

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