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Sidra Medicine separates conjoined twins

Sidra Medicine separates conjoined twins


CATHERINE W GICHUKI
DOHA
Sidra Medicine's expert medical team has successfully separated conjoined twins, marking a first for Qatar, in less than a year after the opening of the inpatient facility.
The twins were conjoined at the liver and lower sternum which is considered one of the riskier types of fusion, as each baby needs a fully functional liver and gastrointestinal tract of its own without compromising the other.
The surgery was on September 24 and the twins are recovering. They are back to normal feeds and are expected to live normal, independent lives, said doctors.
As a sign of gratitude to Qatar, the family named the twin boys Hamad and Tamim.
The twin's mother Fatimatoo, while on a visit from Mali, was seen at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) hospital during her 29th week of pregnancy. After confirming that the twins were conjoined and separation was possible, a multidisciplinary team from HMC and Sidra Medicine arranged for the delivery and care for the country's first conjoined twin separation.
Led by Chair of the Department of Paediatric Surgery Dr Mansour Ali and Division Chief of Paediatric General and Thoracic Surgery Dr Abdalla Zarroug, the four-month-old male twins were separated by a team of 10 surgeons and anaesthesiologists during a nine-hour procedure that went without any complications.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the successful separation, Dr Abdalla Zarroug said the babies were born at HMC on May 25 while the pregnancy was 33 weeks and 5 days old.
According to him, the twins were stabilised and transferred from HMC to Sidra Medicine's neonatal ICU on June 3, 2018, under Sidra Medicine's Chief of Neonatology Dr Helmut Hummler. The first procedure was tissue expansion which was done through a plastic surgery on July 24. Two months later, the actual separation took place.
Dr Zarroug said that the procedure went smoothly because they spent over 200 hours of preparations which included ensuring the image was current as well as rehearsing the actual procedure multiple times until everyone in the team was convinced that it was going to be fine.
He said that the challenging part was meeting the team and convincing each person that their part was going to be fine."I have had the benefit of separating twins in the USA before and had to convince others who have not been through that experience. We went step by step with each individual's role and then collaborating together."
The surgery was planned and rehearsed for months with a full complement of over 150 medical and support staff undergoing over 30 hours of simulation to minimise the risks and improve patient outcomes. Sidra Medicine's state-of-the-art 3D printing technology helped create a model of the boys' abdomen and liver to assist with pre-surgical planning.
According to Dr Mansour, the team spent hours and hours practicing and they tried every single loophole that can happen during the procedure."The procedure was very meticulous, especially the division of the liver. The procedure was so smooth because of the hard work that people put in to prevent any danger to the children which was always our main goal."
"The surgery is both a milestone for the hospital and the healthcare sector in Qatar," Dr Mansour added.
The twins' father, Ousmane Ag Mohammed said that when they learnt that the twins were conjoined during the pregnancy he travelled to neighbouring countries to see if they could do the surgery. According to him, that's when they decided to come to Qatar, because they needed a country that has the resources and right technical abilities."We had enquired about the cost of the surgery in Europe and the West and found it quite expensive. However, we received a warm welcome in Qatar. We are immensely grateful to the government of Qatar, HMC and Sidra Medicine for their tireless efforts to save the lives of our boys."
Mali's Ambassador to Qatar HE Cheick Ahmed Tidiany Diakite thanked everyone who contributed to the surgery, hoping that Sidra Medicine will cooperate and share their knowledge and experiences with the Mali National Hospital.
Sidra Medicine Chief Medical Officer Dr Abdulla al Kaabi, said,"What a proud moment for the team at Sidra Medicine and the healthcare network in Qatar. Today's case is also indicative that we remain committed to our mission to provide children and women with outstanding tertiary healthcare services in an innovative and ultramodern facility specially designed to promote healing."
(PHOTOGRAPH BY JALAL PATHIYOOR)

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