2006 News Story

Iraqi conjoined twins successfully separated

A medical team at the Kingdom’s National Guard Hospital in King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh concluded a separation surgery for Iraqi conjoined twins Fatimah and Zahra today.

Thirty doctors worked in shifts for 18 hours to separate the 11-month-old girls, who were joined at the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

“They are stable and they are responding very well to the surgery,” said Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, chief executive officer of the National Guard Health Affairs and chief surgeon at King Abdulaziz Medical City. “We have to watch them day by day, but we are optimistic.” The most critical immediate concern is the risk of infection, he said.

The children were flown to the National Guard health complex for the operation after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz heard a televised message from their parents asking for help.

Al Rabeeah said it had taken nine months for the malnourished children to gain enough weight to withstand the operation, which has at least 10 phases.

After surgery, the girls will spend a week in pediatric intensive care and remain in the hospital another few months.

To date, 12 sets of conjoined twins have been successfully separated in the Kingdom, nine at King Abdulaziz Medical City.

For more details, see the Conjoined Twins web site.