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Tough choice for conjoined twins: Life or separation

Jul 18, 2009 06:21 PM IST India India
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Hyderabad: Six-year-old conjoined twins Vani and Veena have lived in Hyderabad's Niloufer Hospital for the last three years. Joined at the head and sharing vital veins to the brain, any surgery is now fearfully unpredictable.

It's a tough call for the parents of the conjoined twins, for after having spent three years shuttling between home and the government hospital, it is now time for them to move on.

"After all the deliberations, the conclusion that has been reached is that the separation results will be unpredictable, where both the twins or one of the twins may loose their lives during the surgery," said Medical Superintendent, Niloufer Hospital, Dr Sudarshan Reddy.

The government hospital, which has been bearing all the medical expenses to date now suggest that the twins - who don't need any medical attention - be taken away from the hospital. This led to a tug-of-war between the hospital and the twins' parents, who shuttle between nearby Warangal and the hospital.

This, even as a specialist from Singapore offered to perform the surgery to separate Vani and Veena.

"The focus must be on the rights of the children, the right to grow, the right to be educated, the right of the emotional development, which is certainly not possible within the premises of a hospital,"said Dr Reddy.

"The hospital is delaying the operation for some reason. We were told no surgeon was coming forward for the surgery," said the twins' father, Murali.

And now, with the hospital writing to the ethical committee over keeping the twins, the future of the little girls is snagged in bureaucracy.

Veena and Vani are clearly at the crossroads now. They can either choose to move out of the hospital in their current condition, to a more socially active environment or they can choose to risk the surgery. The burden of this decision though seems to be on the state government now.