Hospital Creates History With 1st Successful Separation Of Premature Conjoined Twins

The mother has given both her baby boys the middle name 'Hope'.

Cover image via Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (Facebook) & Deborah Anne Vince/Malay Mail

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A team of doctors, nurses, and staff created history on Saturday, 19 March, with the first successful separation of premature conjoined twins at Hospital Tunku Azizah (HTA) in Kuala Lumpur

The hospital shared the momentous news after the baby boys were confirmed in stable condition 24 hours after the surgery on Facebook.

According to HTA paediatric surgery consultant Datuk Dr Zakaria Zahari, who led the surgery, the separation of the 17-day-old conjoined twins had to be done early due to a complication called 'extrauterine twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome'.

He said, for most conjoined twin cases, the separation is only done when the twins are at least three months old.

"Therefore, due to the complication, the twins had to undergo the immediate surgery at 17 days old," he said, as quoted by the hospital on Facebook.

The decision to carry out the high-risk surgery was made between specialists from HTA and Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun (HRPB) in Ipoh

The twins were born on 2 March at HRPB by their 29-year-old mother, Deborah Anne Vince, when she was 33 weeks (8 months) pregnant.

As seen in earlier ultrasounds, the twins, weighing only a total of 2.7kg, were joined at the chest — including the liver and intestines.

The mother and children were referred and then transferred to HTA for the specialised surgery.

On Saturday, Dr Zakaria was accompanied by six other paediatric surgery specialists from all over Malaysia, a paediatric anaesthetic team led by Dr Intan Zarina and Dr Ruwaida Isa; as well as nearly 20 nurses and operation theatre staff.

The surgery took about seven hours to complete, with the separation procedure alone taking 66 minutes to achieve without any major complications.

"The preparation process for surgery began as early as 7.30am and the two babies were finally sent back to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at 2pm," the hospital said.

The twins are currently in the NICU for care and respiratory support

Dr Zakaria said as the babies are premature, they would need the breathing aid for another three to four days.

"Alhamdulillah, so far, the twins are okay. We expect them to be off respiratory support in three to four days' time, but monitoring will be done on a day-to-day basis," he said when contacted by Bernama on Sunday, 20 March.

He added that the twins will still need to stay in the NICU for at least a month to continue monitoring their progress of recovery and weight development.

"We need to monitor the twins' condition because we are worried [about] certain problems, such as surgical wounds or the inability to breathe. Another surgery is only done if something occurs in the intestines, such as leaks or twists, but at present, 24 hours after the surgery, nothing has occurred," he said.

The twins' mother, Deborah, said the successful surgery has been nothing short of a miracle

In an interview with Malay Mail, she said she has given both her baby boys the middle name 'Hope' as she was hoping for God to save them.

"We were told that we may lose one or both of them but I kept my hopes high and thank God both babies are in stable condition now," she said.

She has named the twins, Daelan Hope Marshall and Daevyn Hope Marshall.

The mother also conveyed her gratitude to the hospital and surgical team for carrying out the surgery and for bringing her children safe and well out of the operation theatre.

Check out the hospital's Facebook post here:

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