If you grew up with siblings, whether they were younger or older than you, you can imagine just how much chaos would have ensued if you could never get away from them.
Nima and Dawa, 15-month-old twins from Bhutan have a slightly different case: They were conjoined and literally could not get away from each other. They started to get fussy with each other (who wouldn’t?) and lose weight as they got older.
Last October, they were flown from Bhutan to Australia. Doctors held off on surgery until Nov. 16 to give the twins time to gain weight and become healthier.
The planning and manpower that went into the nearly 6-hour surgery are staggering. A huge medical team of around 25 assisted Dr. Joe Crameri during the procedure at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s hospital.
“The best part of the surgery is there were no highs and there were no lows,” Crameri told The Guardian. “It was all very calm … there was calm discussion and banter.”
A doctor from Bhutan who traveled to Melbourne with the mother and patients helped translate for the girls’ mother. She was understandably nervous about her daughters going under the knife.
“Mum is very relieved. She was very stressed today, it has been a very difficult day for her,” Crameri added.
Despite all the best planning, the reality is very different from simulation. The surgeons wouldn’t really know what they were working with until they began the separation.
The girls’ livers were connected, but the doctors were concerned that they might only have one bowel between the two of them.
“The greatest challenge was what we were going to find once we went into the abdomen,” Crameri said. “We feel quietly confident we will have a good result but as with all post-operative cases we will be closely monitoring things over the coming hours.”
Both girls are doing well, and have recovered brilliantly so far. Overall, the surgery and rehab will cost somewhere around $350,000 — but the Victorian government has already given an offer for payment.
“The areas we tampered with during the surgery are healing well and the girls are getting back to a more normal life,” Crameri said, according to Inside Edition. “The area that we repaired on their tummy wall seems to be dealing with the strain quite well.”
Despite their relative freedom, the two don’t seem to want to part ways quite yet. They still snuggle together and seek comfort from one another, according to Kellie Smith, the nursing coordinator at the hospital.
“They’re really cheeky,” she said. “They’re not far from one another at any time at all and they’re still in the same bed. We try to have them a little bit apart, but they manage bum shuffle back together and have their legs intertwined, always.”
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