RIYADH: A medical team from Saudi Arabia has stepped in to save the lives of 10-day-old conjoined twins in Yemen.
The two little boys, Abdelkhaleq and Abdelkarim, share a kidney and two legs but have separate hearts and lungs.
The head of pediatrics at Al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa, Dr. Faisal Al-Balbali, said the hospital had no facilities to treat or separate the babies and appealed for help.
The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said he had a team ready to treat the twins. Arrangements were being made to bring them from Sanaa to the Kingdom “as soon as possible,” and the team would study the possibility of separating them.
In addition to being head of KSRelief, Al-Rabeeah is an internationally recognized pediatric surgeon who specializes in separating conjoined twins.
Doctors trying to treat the twins in Sanaa said Yemen’s health system could not keep them alive, and the parents are poor.
“They need to travel immediately. They will not be able to survive in Yemen under the social, political and economic circumstances,” Al-Balbali said.
The tiny boys, who are being helped to breathe in an incubator, have separate heads.
Within their shared torso they have separate spines, lungs, hearts and digestive systems, but they share a liver, reproductive organs and pair of kidneys, arms and legs.
“Even if one is unwell, the other is fine ... they are different in every aspect,” Dr. Al-Balbali said.
Doctors were unable to perform even basic diagnostic tests such as an MRI scan in Yemen, and certainly did not have the capabilities to separate them, he said.