Last Saturday was like any other day for St. Paul General Specialized Hospital. But the regularity was broken when something extraordinary happened. Gerba Mechas was expecting the birth of twins. But the conjoined twins Dr. Anbesse Jima, a third-year resident of gynecology and pediatrics helped deliver are the first of their kind in Ethiopia.
“There has not been such a phenomenon in Ethiopia. There are 70 such births recorded to date in the world. Only four conjoined twins have lived to grow to adulthood. Today there is only one surviving American twin, Brittany and Abby,” Dr. Anbesse said.
Explaining the various types of twins Dr. Anbesse says there are two types; identical and fraternal. “Identical twins are conceived if fertility occurs between two eggs and sperm cells within 13 days. But when a fertile egg splits into two after 13 days, such conjoining happens. Saturday’s birth is a result of that.” According to the doctor, conjoining commonly occurs in the head, the chest, the abdomen and the rear. “The case that we witnessed is one of a very rare case of conjoined twins.”
About two-thirds of conjoined twins are female. The twins delivered on Saturday, however, are male.
The mother knew of her babies were twins before they were born. She was getting regular check-up at a hospital in north showa zone and was told to expect twins. She was later sent to Addis Ababa for further special care. “An ultrasound showed that the babies were conjoined twins. So we were prepared for it. We were prepared for a medial operation,” the doctor told The Reporter.
Dr. Anbesse added that both the babies and the mother are in good condition. “In most such cases, the babies will have a serious medical condition following the birth. But these babies have two lungs, two hearts, and a stomach. But they share the rest of their bodies, including their organs. The two hearts give the babies a high chance of survival.”
The Reporter was not able to talk to the mother of the twins. But through the cooperation of people who want to help the children it was able to get exclusive pictures. But the doctor revealed that the mother does not want to feed the twins and she does not even want to see them. “It looks as if she is afraid of the stigma she will most likely face. She is thinking that it might be God’s way of punishing her.” He added that the media should help her find people who might be interested to raise the babies.
The babies have been transferred to Black Lion Hospital and are being fed there. However, according to the doctor, they are not likely to go on getting support from the hospital.
Gerba has previously had two normal births. “Such cases are not common, but the public should accept them and give them a chance to blend in,” Dr Anbesse said.