Veena and Vani, 13-year-old Siamese twins with conjoined heads, have been abandoned by their parents after doctors said an attempt to separate the Hyderabad girls would kill them.
With the girls attaining puberty, caring for them has become difficult for the staff of Niloufer children’s hospital, where the twins have been living for the past decade. They will be shifted to a home run by the women development and child welfare department of the Telangana government by the Niloufer authorities.
The parents — N Murali and Nagalaksmi, who are daily-wage workers from Beerusettigudem village in Warangal district — are not keen to take their girls home. “They have virtually disowned Veena and Vani. They hardly visit to see the daughters,” Niloufer Hospitals superintendent Dr Suresh Kumar told HT.
Last week, a team of neurosurgeons and reconstructive surgeons from New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences informed the hospital that a separation surgery was highly risky.
“They sent us report last week, saying the surgery is risky as the twins share important blood vessels and nerves in the head. If surgery is performed, it may prove fatal or give them neurological debility,” Kumar said.
The hospital had informed the parents about the possible complications. “If they want us to go ahead, we will take the risk. If they say no, we will ask them to take the girls to their home,” he said.
The parents were to give their opinion on Tuesday but did not turn up. They would give them some more time before taking a decision on the twins, the hospital superintendent said.
While Murali was not available for comments, hospital sources said he had set some terms — a government job, house with air-conditioned room to keep the twins and two acres of land – to take his daughters home.
If the parents refuse surgery, Veena and Vani would have to lead their life with their heads fused. “May be they will ask for separation when they turn 18, as had happened in the case of Iranian conjoined twins in 2003. Unfortunately, the Iranians died soon after the complicated surgery,” Kumar said of Ladan and Laleh Bijani.
According to media reports, doctors had begged with the Bijani sisters not to go ahead with surgery but they insisted on the controversial operation that led to their deaths.
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