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Conjoined twins’ parents seek solace in govt

HYDERABAD: After providing care for six years incurring an expenditure of over of Rs five lakh, the state government still has a wishlist to fulfill with regard to conjoined twins Vani and Veena. Their parents, who landed in the city on Tuesday evening after being summoned to discuss the future of their twin daughters, made a slew of demands.

In a letter handed over to the superintendent of the Niloufer Hospital (where the twins are currently housed) on Wednesday, the parents, who refused to give consent for the complicated surgery in 2009 by an expert from Singapore, have now sought an assurance from the government that it identifies a team of specialists to separate the twins.

This apart, the couple demanded financial assistance by way of a government job or stipend to take care of the children if they are made to take them home. Speaking to TOI, M Murali, father of the twins, said that the family cannot afford to take care of the children since they have two more daughters, aged 11 and 6 years.

“If we take them home, a caregiver has to be there round the clock. We both are labourers and the house runs on our income. My wife cannot afford to stay at home. Moreover, it would become a herculean task to manage the children at home since it would garner lot of attention. How will we manage the public,” they questioned.

The couple also stated that even if they take the twins home and health complications occur, it will be difficult for them to manage. The government should take care of their treatment whenever necessary, they said. Reasoning their stand, they maintained that they live in a small village Beerisettigudam in Warangal where the healthcare facilities are next to nil. “Since their birth, they have been living in hospitals and have got accustomed to the environment,” maintained Naga Laskhmi, their mother.

The hospital authorities tried to convince them to let the children be shifted to Shishu Vihaar, a children’s home. To this, a calm Murali maintained that if same facilities and care is provided at the children’s home, they will not have a problem.

Meanwhile, hospital authorities insisted that by suggesting their rehabilitation in an orphanage, they are only trying to ensure that the children get a natural environment where they can mingle with the children of their age and get educated. “The government never washed its hands off this issue. This is a rare case and we cannot treat them in the regular set up,” said Dr K Ramesh Reddy, superintendent (incharge), Niloufer Hospital. He added that it has become more of a social issue.

Hospital authorities said that after they were admitted to the hospital in April 2006, national and international experts and centres were contacted. Dr Keith Goh, neurosurgeon from Singapore, who has an experience of operating on four pairs of craniopagus conjoined twins, was among those who were consulted. But the parents had refused to give consent as they wanted a positive outcome of 100 per cent, which is not a possibility in this case.

After the parents refused, the matter was brought to the notice of government to rehabilitate them. Dr A Narendra Kumar, head, department of peadiatric surgery at Niloufer, said that the twins are healthy with a combined weight of 48 kg and they have good learning abilities. “They are no different than a normal child except the fact that they are craniopagus conjoined twins,” the doctor said.

Times view

The responsibility of any child lies first with the parents. Conjoined twins Vani and Veena were abandoned at birth by their parents as they claimed they would be unable to take care of the medical expenses. As a result, the twins have spent their first nine years away from family, in hospitals. Vani and Veena may have a conjoined medical condition, but are children with normal brain development. They need a home environment, proper education and not a life inside a hospital.

While the state may give some financial aid to the poor parents should the twins undergo a surgery, but the parents cannot brush off what should be their primary responsibility. Else, they should have no say, whatsoever, in the decision the state takes for the twins.

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Posted by on Jan 19 2012. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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