Thursday 21 February 2019

Saudis offer hope for conjoined twins facing death in Yemen

Survival struggle: Newly born conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the child intensive care unit of al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa. Photo: Khaled Abdullah
Survival struggle: Newly born conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the child intensive care unit of al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa. Photo: Khaled Abdullah

Raf Sanchez

Conjoined twin boys born in the chaos of Yemen's war may be evacuated to Saudi Arabia for lifesaving treatment, Saudi authorities said yesterday.

Abdelkhaleq and Abdelkarim were born two weeks ago in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, where the health system has collapsed under years of airstrikes and a blockade by a Saudi-led military coalition.

The tiny boys have separate heads, spines, lungs and hearts, but they share a liver, reproductive organs and a pair of kidneys, arms and legs between them.

Dr Faisal al-Balbali, the head of the neonatal unit at al-Thawra hospital, said that their lives depended on getting treatment outside of Yemen.

"They need to travel immediately. They will not be able to survive in Yemen under the social, political and economic circumstances in this country," he said.

Dr Balbali said that his team was unable to perform basic tests, let alone conduct a complicated surgical procedure to separate the twins.

After the case began to receive international attention, Saudi authorities said that they were prepared to evacuate the boys from Sanaa for treatment "as soon as possible".

Irish Independent

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