Separated conjoined twins to get award for bravery
THE Irish conjoined twins who were separated five months ago are to be honoured with a special bravery award.
The nine-month-old boys Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf -- and their parents, Angie and Azzedine -- are to receive the Maternity and Infant Award (MIA) at a gala ceremony in Dublin next month.
Hassan and Hussein were separated after a marathon operation last April. The surgery, performed by Cork-born surgeon Edward Kiely in London's Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, took 14 hours and was hailed as a tremendous success.
Now, the boys are to receive the MIA presentation which aims to recognise courage, service and dedication amongst nurses, doctors, parents, children and midwives.
Such was the impression made by the Benhaffaf family that a special MIA merit prize will be presented to all six family members.
As well as Hassan and Hussein, the Benhaffafs have two older girls, Malika (6) and Iman (3).
Hassan and Hussein were born at University College Hospital in London on December 2 last year but were later cared for by the staff at Cork University Maternity Hospital.
They gained strength so fast their separation surgery at Great Ormond Street was brought forward to April.
The boys are now thriving at their home in Carrigtwohill in east Cork.
The boys' mother, Angie, said she never dreamed things would work out so well.
"They are doing wonderfully. They bring us so much happiness. It is such a big difference to this time last year," she said.
"They are starting to get mischievous. We are just enjoying them and we have waited a long time to enjoy them.
"Since the surgery they are calm and happy. They rarely cry. They are amazing little guys."
The next issue for the boys -- who have only one fully developed leg each -- will be the fitting of special prosthetic limbs in 2011.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare and only occur on average once in every 250,000 births.