Jordan succeeds in first separation of conjoined twins

Members of a Jordanian medical team announce having performed a rare eight-hour operation to separate two Yemeni conjoined twins last summer, during a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — The Jordanian medical center, the Specialty Hospital, succeeded in separating Yemeni twins who were conjoined in an eight-hour surgery in July, according to the lead surgeon, Fawzi Al-Hammouri. The operation was the first to be performed in the Kingdom.اضافة اعلان

Hammouri, who is also the general manager of the hospital, told Jordan News: “Last December, we received a request to separate conjoined Yemeni twins in our hospital, and we immediately ran some tests to ensure that we have the required techniques and equipment to do the operation and host the twins.”

“We always welcome Arab and foreign patients. We try to never deny their request to come to Jordan and get proper care,” he added. 

The UNICEF flew the twins from Sanaa, Yemen, to Amman, accompanied by their parents, in February.

The doctor said that the operation required the cooperation of 25 doctors, and it took place on July 3. He added: “Among the doctors were anesthesiologists, heart and liver surgeons, as well as pediatricians and others.”

“I cannot deny that this operation was a real challenge, not only for me but also for everyone at the hospital,” he stated.

“The twins weighed 3.5kg when they came to us. However, the international standards require that twins undergoing such an operation weigh at least 8–9kg.”
According to the AFP news service, the twins were born in mid-December in Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa and were in critical condition.

Hammouri added: “The weight was one of our biggest challenges. We gave them an intensified nutritional program for several months until they finally weighed almost 9.2kg, they also had some health problems, but we worked tirelessly to resolve them.”

The twins were conjoined at the chest and abdomen. They shared a liver, rib cage, diaphragm, and heart membrane, and separating them was an urgent medical necessity.

“After the success of this operation, I must remind everyone that our medical sector is great and that we have qualified medical staff. We have a good reputation globally, and we must keep it up.” 

According to an interview with AFP, Hammouri added that the hospital delayed any announcement because “after the operation, they (the babies) needed intensive care, artificial respiration, and intravenous feeding for a long time.”

When it comes to survival, the AFP reported that many conjoined twins are stillborn or die shortly after birth, but advances in surgery and technology have improved survival rates.

Hammouri told the AFP: “The chances of their survival are very great. They have become like any normal child. The danger has disappeared.”
The twins are still in Jordan with their parents but are expected to return home in two or three weeks, he told the AFP.

According to a representative of UNICEF to Yemen, Philippe Doamel, UNICEF was able to cover this operation’s medical and logistical expenses through humanitarian aid and the help of many individual donors from the private sector.

The doctor added: “I must thank everyone who contributed to the success of this operation; even citizens who had a great role in it through their donations.

We, as a hospital, paid almost 50 percent of the operation’s cost; because it is a humanitarian action that we all should support. I am overwhelmed by what the international media said about us. It is a real achievement that we all should be proud of.”

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