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Friday 22 September 2017

Brave 'little fighters' to remain in recovery for weeks

Olivia Kelleher

CONJOINED Irish twin boys, Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, who were separated in 14-hour surgery last week, remain in a stable condition in the intensive care unit at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (GOSCH) in London.

It is understood doctors in the UK are pleased with the progress of the twins but a source close to the family says it will be many weeks before the ongoing recovery of the boys from major surgery is over.

A progress bulletin is expected to be released later this week by surgeon Edward Kiely, who headed the separation surgery of the four-month-old boys.

The boys' parents, Angie and Azzedine, who live in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, are being filmed for an ITN 'Tonight' documentary, which will air in mid-May. Mrs Benhaffaf felt she was helped by seeing documentaries on previous cases of conjoined twins, and wanted a documentary to be made of her family's experience to help others.

Coverage

Meanwhile, she is keeping a record of media coverage that her boys will be able to see in the fullness of time.

Prior to the surgery Mrs Benhaffaf also penned a poem about her boys. She said she and her husband Azzedine were told during the pregnancy the twins might share a heart. But their tears were those of joy when "my little fighters were born" on December 2, she wrote. Her poem said the twins had "fought to be here" and the operation to separate them was their "final battle".

Around 20 staff, including four anaesthetists and four surgeons, led by Cork-born Mr Kiely, worked in shifts during the complex procedure, which began at GOSCH in London at 8.30am last Wednesday.

Fundraising is also continuing for the Benhaffafs as the family remains in London pending the release of Hassan and Hussein. The Little Fighters fundraising account is at the Permanent TSB's Patrick Street branch in Cork. Sort code: 99-07-03. Account no: 16556196.

Irish Independent

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