Australian doctors to evaluate Bhutanese conjoined twins before operation

Henrietta Strickland
October 6, 2018

Conjoined twins Nima and Dawa have undergone the first in a series of tests to determine when they will be fit for delicate separation surgery.

"We need to just double check everything is alright generally", anaesthetist Ian McKenzie said.

A number of tests and scans had to be carried out because doctors had little information on the girls' condition before the arrival of the twins and their mother in Melbourne from Bhutan in the Himalayas on Tuesday.

Elizabeth Lodge, chief executive of the charity that brought the girls and their mother from their Himalayan kingdom home, Children First Foundation, said the family was looking forward to the separation at Royal Children's Hospital. "We got some preliminary information before they came and we pretty much confirmed that that was all very good information".

"There's a whole lot of things they might have got in Bhutan they wouldn't get in Australia, and we need to just have our guard up that they haven't got a surprise illness we haven't thought of, that might not be very common here", said Dr McKenzie.

The Royal Children's Hospital is offering the surgery to the Children First Foundation at a humanitarian rate but it will still cost more than $250,000.

Doctors who have carried out assessments on the girls say specialists are happy at this stage to progress with the surgery.

Pediatric surgeon Joe Crameri said if all goes well, surgery could go ahead in the next week, with the team planning to provide an update before then.

"So far, everything is going along the pathway that we've been hoping for".

The state government pledged to cover the surgery, with other funds raised to go towards the girls' stay, rehabilitation and future.

"Their time on getting home will depend a lot on our ability to fix the abdominal wall because obviously they share skin and muscle", Crameri said.

The surgery is estimated to cost $250,000 and will be paid by Victorian taxpayers, although almost $95,000 has been raised by the Australian public after a plea for donations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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