Once again, modern medicine saves the day!
Australian doctors have successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins from Bhutan, 15-month-old Nima and Dawa Pelden. The pair were joined at the abdomen and were sharing a liver.
Eighteen specialists and seven nurses, divided into two teams, took part in the six-hour operation at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. But despite the need for such an enormous team, the surgery seems as if it couldn't have gone better. "The best part of the surgery is there were no highs and there were no lows," lead surgeon Dr. Joe Crameri told The Guardian. "It was all very calm … there was calm discussion and banter," he said.
And the twins' mother, Bumchu Zhangmo, is said to be relieved, of course, after what was a very difficult day for her. "There's nothing better in any operation to be able to go to the parents and say we have been able to take care of your child," Crameri told the BBC.
Nima and Dawa grew facing each other while conjoined, so they were unable to sit up and could only stand one at a time. Doctors were also unable to tell whether the girls shared any other organs. Of particular concern was that they'd discover the girls also shared a bowel. "[W]e just did not know what we would find," Crameri said, but in the end "[there] weren't any things inside the girls' tummies that we weren't really prepared for."
On Twitter, people from all over the world came together to support Bumchu and the girls in the days leading up to the surgery:
Every Bhutanese on Twitter. Please pray for Nima and Dawa tonight before you go to bed. Morning pray can do but bit… https://t.co/04CX41Xo72— Phuntsho Tenzin (@Phuntsho Tenzin) 1541687421.0
@RBG_ARCHITECT Not just Bhutanese, you have my prayers too. May the two precious little angels undergo the surgery… https://t.co/67KgV0E6ll— Wanda (@Wanda) 1541721178.0
@RBG_ARCHITECT Positive thoughts & vibes from the US!— Artie Whitfield (@Artie Whitfield) 1541733005.0
And when news was released that the surgery had been successful, folks were overjoyed with the happy ending!
Fantastic news! Conjoined twins Nima and Dawa have been successfully separated by a medical team at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.— Johanna Nicholson (@Johanna Nicholson) 1541739695.0
Nima and Dawa are separated and doing well! For more than a year I’ve dreamt of being able to say that. Well done,… https://t.co/QYoVBnKrns— Grant McArthur (@Grant McArthur) 1541739492.0
@mcarthurg @RCHMelbourne Fabulous news ! Well done to team @RCHMelbourne !!— Dr Sally Cockburn (@Dr Sally Cockburn) 1541750692.0
@mcarthurg @RCHMelbourne Thank god and all the doctors who make this happened 😊🙏🙏— kencho (@kencho) 1541742993.0
@AustralianStory @BreakfastNews What a relief for Mum and all involved. Amazing Doctors and Nursing Staff. A well… https://t.co/8HscMK03sn— AusNotWhatItWas (@AusNotWhatItWas) 1541743880.0
@AustralianStory What a great story, goes to show there are lots more goodness in the world, these doctors and nurs… https://t.co/gZxPVYzGB7— St_KiKs (@St_KiKs) 1541750003.0
Australian charity Children First Foundation brought the family from Bhutan, one of the poorest countries in the world, to Melbourne for the surgery. The Australian state of Victoria has offered to pay for the medical care, which totals $350,000 Australian (about $255,000 US).
In a press release, the charity reported that Bumchu had seen her girls sleeping separately for the first time, and had been able to give each a kiss. They'll return to Bhutan once the girls have made a full recovery--which seems imminent: both girls have already had their breathing tubes removed, and neither has had any need for intensive care. Dr. Crameri pointed out that, "There will be challenges over the next 24 to 48 hours as with any surgery," but that he and his team "feel quietly confident that we will have a good result."
Good luck, Nima and Dawa!