Bangladeshi twins stable after ‘miracle’ surgery

An amazing story which promises joy, good luck girls and a huge well done to the surgical team.
Surgeons in Australia have successfully separated conjoined twin girls during a complex 32-hour operation.
Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna were in serious but stable condition on Wednesday after Australian surgeons separated their conjoined heads in what has been hailed as a “miracle” operation.

The two-year-old girls are being closely monitored as they recover in an induced coma and on ventilators after the marathon 32-hour surgery aimed at giving them healthy lives apart.

Leo Donnan, chief of surgery at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, said doctors will watch for possible infection and how the girls’ organs adapt to the change. There was no immediate evidence of any brain damage, he added.
“We have still got many unknown things that will need to be addressed related to how well they recover from the surgery and how their bodies adapt to the separation,” Donnan told reporters.

“They both will have issues with their kidneys and with other organs as well,” he added.

“There is a whole lot of changes that will occur over the next couple of weeks, even into months, and we really don’t know how well they will tolerate those.”

The girls, who also had reconstruction surgery to cover their gaping skulls, will remain in a medical coma for several days before gradually being woken up.

A hospital statement said the pair were in a “serious but stable condition” and had undergone MRI scans on their brains. “They will continue to have various tests for weeks to come.”

Doctors have said there is a 25 percent chance they will both make a complete recovery.

An emotional Moira Kelly, one of the girls’ legal guardians who brought them from Bangladesh, called the events a “miracle”.

“It’s a miracle we have here at the hospital,” Kelly said through tears. “We have beautiful little girls, Trishna and Krishna. They’re so good, they’re looking really good,” she added.

The operation received widespread media coverage in Australia while nuns at the Mother Teresa orphanage, their former home in the Bangladeshi capital, were praying in shifts.

“We are still in touch with them and we have been kept informed of the progress of the operation. Yesterday everyone in the home took turns to pray for them,” said senior nun Sister Olivet.

“Everyone remembers these children. They are very special children and we have many photos of them around the home so we can remember them. It’s wonderful news.”

The girls were close to death when they arrived in Australia two years ago from Dhaka, where doctors said they were powerless to improve their fading health.

But their condition rapidly improved and they developed a unique system of crawling on their backs and a love of Australian children’s band “The Wiggles” while undergoing a series of preparatory operations.

A team of 16 specialists worked through the night, taking regular food and rest breaks and listening to pop music in the operating theatre, before finally separating them at 11:00 am (0000 GMT) on Tuesday.

“I think I’m going to get emotional, but it was definitely one of the most pleasurable moments when we saw them both apart, side by side,” said joint guardian Atom Rahman.

UPDATE: 22 Nov 2009
Bangladeshi mom doesn't want twins back

First photograph of Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna with their birth parents

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP): The mother of recently separated conjoined Bangladeshi twins does not want custody of the daughters she gave up for adoption and wants them to have new lives in Australia, newspapers reported Saturday.

The twins, who turn 3 next months old, had been joined at the top of their heads and shared brain tissue and blood vessels. They were separated Tuesday after 25 hours of delicate surgery in a Melbourne hospital and then underwent an additional six hours of reconstructive work.

The charity that brought Trishna and Krishna from a Dhaka orphanage to Australia two years ago for the surgery, Children First Foundation, will continue to provide care and support for the twins in Australia for at least the next two years, chief executive Margaret Smith said on Friday.

News Corp.-owned Australian newspapers on Saturday published an English translation of an interview with the 23-year-old mother, Lavlee Mollik. She said she and her husband, Kartik Mollik, were praying for their daughters' quick recovery.

"We don't want to get them back because we don't have the ability to take proper care of them," she told the Bangladesh newspaper Daily Shamokal.

But she said she missed them daily and hoped to visit them one day. "It will be the most happy day of my life if I can see them again," she said.

"I want them to live in Australia and be educated in Australia and one day when they have become very respected people, I want them to call me 'mother,"' she said.

The mother, who gave the twins up for adoption after giving birth by cesarean section, said she had followed their progress through the media.

The Associated Press on Saturday was unable to immediately contact the parents, who live in the Jessore district of southwestern Bangladesh.

Trishna awoke from a medically induced coma Thursday and was talking and behaving normally.

In a statement Friday, officials at Royal Children's Hospital said Krishna was still slowly being brought out of her coma.

"She is more alert, starting to breathe more and opening her eyes," the statement said.

Krishna is expected to have a longer period of adjustment as the separation brought more changes to her body and brain's blood circulation. Both girls were in serious but stable condition Friday.

Wirginia Maixner, the hospital's director of neurosurgery, said there may be minor changes to the girls from where their brains were separated but that overall the brains looked good. MRI scans Wednesday showed no signs of brain injury.

Doctors had earlier said there was a 50-50 chance that one of the girls could suffer brain damage from the complicated separation.

An aid worker first saw Trishna and Krishna in the orphanage when they were a month old, and contacted the Children First Foundation.

Smith said it was too early to say whether the girls' legal guardian, Children First Foundation founder Moira Kelly, would adopt them.

"I think she'd like to do that, but that's something we can't make a decision on at the moment," Smith said.

The foundation raised almost 250,000 Australian dollars ($229,000) for the cost of caring for the twins in between numerous earlier surgeries to separate blood vessels connecting their brains. A mystery benefactor funded all hospital costs, Smith said.


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