One of Siamese twins survived after a team of doctors at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi had successfully separated them in a six-hour emergency operation on July 10, this year.
The twins who were delivered at the Atibie Hospital in the Eastern Region on July 3, this year had to be rushed to KATH for the emergency operation because their joined umbilicus was about to rapture and possibly kill them.
The two, who were each christened Nhyiraba, also shared one intestine, a urinary bladder and one large bowel.
During the operation, the team, led by Dr Michael Amoah, managed to reconstruct the bladder into two separate ones for the two babies.
However, one of the babies died when the doctors sought to repair her organs.
The mother and the surviving baby have since been discharged.
The separation of the latest conjoined twins is the third to be carried out by doctors of the hospital. The previous two were unsuccessful.
Conjoined twins are two babies born by the same mother at the same time, with some parts of their bodies joined together.
The success story of the latest attempt was due to the collaborative work among health officials at the Mother Baby Unit and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of the KATH. Other members of the team were Dr Nimako Boateng and Dr Yifiyie Abiboye.
After the six-hour operation, the two were brought to the PICU, where they were stabilised from their shock and respiratory arrest.
Three days after stabilisation, all the organs were functioning and the two were passing stools and urine normally.
However, the doctors at the PICU had to struggle and improvise to help them to breathe.
Dr John Adabie Appiah, a paediatric critical care specialist at KATH, told the Daily Graphic that “we had to improvise to aid the newly separated twins to breathe because the mechanical ventilations available were not meant for their age”.
Unfortunately, the one who had the smaller bowel could not make it after nine days due to the fact that the twins had to be carried to and fro for other tests in other departments because the PICU did not have the critical life-saving equipment.
Dr Appiah explained that because the centre lacked a lot of machines, anytime they had to take the children to other areas for test, they had to remove them from the improvised ventilation machine and use a hand pump to help them to breathe.
Cost of operation
The cost of the entire operation and other expenses totalled GH¢30,000 which was borne by Little Steps Foundation, an NGO, and the hospital authorities.
Later, an elated Dr Appiah told the Daily Graphic that the establishment of the eight-bed PICU at KATH in February this year had saved the lives of 58 children who would have died.