As many as 78 medical officers have worked to separate conjoined twins in a 12-hour operation in Abuja.
“We also needed to determine if they could survive separately after separation. We found out that they had two separate hearts that were normal, but with a common cover. They also shared the lower half of the chest and there was only one liver serving the two of them. Other organs were separate and normal.”
Ameh added that before the surgery, the twins needed to grow well in order to withstand the complex surgery. He noted that nutrition and infection control were critical in the preparation.
He added, “We celebrated their first birthday in the ward still conjoined. The surgery was performed on November 14, 2019. By that time they were 15 months-old. A total of 78 medical staff was involved in the 12 and a half hour surgery. We even planned to spend 48 hours, if there was a need for it. After that, the twins spent a week at the Intensive Care Unit before they were taken to the ward.”
Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, said at the event that the parents of the twins would have spent more than N20m if they could afford travelling abroad, adding that the hospital took care of all the bills.
He said, “The cost of running a hospital is enormous. The average electricity bill of the National Hospital is about N19m every month. That is why we collect money. “We took it upon ourselves to mobilise resources and invest it on the twins.
If the parents had the means, they would have gone abroad like some other Nigerians and spent at least an equivalent of N20m in foreign currency. It is cheaper doing the surgery here. We cannot quantify the amount spent on the surgery.”
It was not the first time that conjoined twins were separated in a similar operation in a Nigerian hospital. On May 14, 2018, a team of surgeons successfully separated four-month-old conjoined twins at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola.
Also, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital on June 11, 2018, announced that it has separated conjoined twins referred to the centre from the St. Mary Catholic Hospital, Gwagalada, Abuja.