Mother refuses surgery, conjoined twins discharged

Mumbai : The conjoined twins, who were under observation at a civic hospital here for three weeks after their birth last month, have been discharged as their mother continued to oppose and raise apprehensions about their survival if they undergo a separation surgery.

The babies were discharged on Saturday after doctors attending on them felt they were doing “fine”.

However, in the backdrop of the family’s resistance to the surgery anytime soon, they have been advised to visit the hospital as and when the babies needed attention, a senior doctor said.

“We had to discharge the babies because their mother Shaheen denied to give her consent for the operation despite our level best to persuade her. She feared losing them and preferred to see both of them alive,” Paras Kothari, Head of paediatric unit at Sion Hospital, said today.

“But before the discharge, we ensured that the babies were doing fine and completed all possible medical observations,” he said.

Also, all the expenses for the treatment of the babies as well as the mother after the delivery were borne by the hospital administration.

“At the time of discharge, we also gave an oxygen cylinder on our behalf for the babies and have advised them to visit the hospital in case of any unusual activity/behaviour on part of the babies,” added Dr Kothari.

Last week, 26-year-old Shaheen denied permission to separate her babies, who share a common heart, thorax, abdomen, stomach and pelvic region.

The twins were born on July 27, weighing 3.6 kgs. The mother had discovered they were conjoined in her 32nd week of pregnancy, when she underwent the first sonography test since conceiving them.

The babies have a very complex internal architecture as they have two separate heads and necks, but a partially common thorax, and are completely fused below the umbilicus level.

Also, doctors felt that since they share the same spinal chord upto chest, there are slim chances of survival of one of the babies. This factor has proved to be a major hindrance for the surgery.

Earlier, Dean, Suleman Merchant had formed an ethical committee to scrutinise the case and all the possibilities of the separation of the baby through surgical procedure. He said the hospital did not insist on the operation as they needed to respect the family’s decision.

“When the mother is not ready for the operation, the committee has no role to play in this,” Kothari said, adding that if his team would have gone ahead with the surgery, only one child would have survived.

“They have a complex anatomy which even we do not understand. If a separation surgery could have been conducted, we could have understood their internal organs clearly. Their survival is now God’s wish,” the paediatrician added.