RIYADH: The parents of Mauritanian conjoined twins said they were extremely touched by the support provided by the Saudi leadership to aid their children.
The conjoined twins — Mohammed and Fadhil — and their parents were brought to Riyadh on directives from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to study their case and the possibility of separating them.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the father of the twins, Taqi Mahmoud, thanked the Saudi leadership for the generosity shown to them.
He said he was very grateful for the leadership’s efforts, including arrangements to bring them to Riyadh, the welcome by the team at the King Abdullah Specialized Children Hospital (KASCH) and the warm hospitality provided to them throughout.
“The journey from Mauritania to Riyadh in coordination with the Saudi and Mauritanian authorities was very smooth, and the procedures for transferring the twins to Riyadh were carried out easily,” said Mahmoud.
“We are very grateful that Saudi Arabia extended help with open arms to receive us, the service being extended to us is so generous and welcoming,” he added.
Mahmoud said that his family traveled on a private jet on the instructions of King Salman.
He added that the twins, who upon arrival in the early hours on Tuesday were transferred to the KASCH, are undergoing various tests.
Once the examining is complete, the doctors will be able to tell when they can carry out the separation surgery.
Mahmoud said that the hospital communicated with the Mauritanian Ministry of Health, which then discussed the issue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry found that Saudi Arabia was the best country for assisting the twins, and the Kingdom sent a private jet within just a few days.
Abdulrahman Dadah, Mauritanian Embassy spokesman — who along with other officials visited the twins at the hospital — told Arab News: “We greatly appreciate the generous support of Saudi Arabia with instructions of the king and the crown prince.
“We know this is common support from Saudi Arabia to every such case, we appreciate that the Kingdom was one of the first countries to offer this health service, we are grateful for this opportunity which is giving the true meaning to humanity.”
Dr. Mohammed Al-Namshan, chairman of pediatric surgery at KASCH and the twins’ supervisor, told Arab News: “We received them in good condition. They are in stable condition.
“We have completed some investigations including laboratory tests, radiological tests and studied the heart condition. For the next few days we will continue with examinations to decide about the separation.”
He said that everything is being provided for free. The mother is staying with the twins in the ward, whereas the father has been provided housing near the hospital with other facilities and daily expenses as part of the humanitarian service.
On the duration of stay for treatment, he said: “It depends if we find any problems that will halt their separation.”
He added that sometimes there are problems and organs cannot be separated, which prevents successful surgery.
“Under the National Twins Separation Program, we studied more than 110 babies and separated 48 of them. The other cases were not favorable for separation,” Al-Namshan.
Should the operation be approved, they will become the 49th set of twins to undergo the procedure in one of the largest separation programs in the world, he said.
Mahmoud expressed his confidence in the Saudi medical team, led by the experience supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, and renowned pediatric surgeon, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.