News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Conjoined twins never had much of a chance

The Eastern Cape conjoined twins who were rushed to the Western Cape last week for medical attention never had much of a chance of surviving, it seems.

The twin girls, who shared a heart, umbilical cord and upper abdomen were admitted at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital on Friday but sadly passed away on Sunday evening.

According to the Western Cape Health Department, upon arrival, the twins were admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for assessments.

“Unfortunately they had a major heart abnormality which made the separation impossible.”

“The condition is fatal even when seen on other non-conjoined twin babies,” said the department’s deputy director of communications, Mark van der Heever.

The names of the twins have not been released but they were born at the Dr Malizo Mphele District Hospital in Tsolo near Mthatha last Wednesday.

Their distraught parents who are already back in the Eastern Cape have requested that the media give them privacy during this time of mourning.

According to some studies, conjoined twins are very rare – one birth in 2,5 million. Most of these children are said to die within 24 hours of birth.

It is estimated that they are only about five sets of conjoined babies living in the world at any given time.

But in recent memory South Africa has some remarkable stories of conjoined twins being successfully separated.

In 2006, the nation was awed by the story of the first set of Indian conjoined twins in the country Danielle and Danika Lowton.

The two were joined at the head and were successfully separated after 16 hours of operation.

Mpho and Mphonyana Mathibela were successfully separated at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in 1986.

They were joined at the head and shared a major vein that drains blood from the brain, a section of the skull and a large amount of brain tissue.

They both survived the operation to separate them, but Mphonyana died a year later, while Mpho was left brain damaged. –Francis Hweshe

Tags: Conjoined Twins, Dr Malizo Mphele District Hospital, Red Cross Children's Hospital

Leave a Reply