Saudi Arabia to treat conjoined Gaza twins
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Saudi Arabia to treat conjoined Gaza twins

Doctor of baby girls from the Strip says 'at least one' of the infants likely to survive surgery

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

One-day-old Palestinian conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the nursery on October 22, 2017 at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.  (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
One-day-old Palestinian conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the nursery on October 22, 2017 at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it that would treat conjoined twins born in the Gaza Strip, after a Palestinian hospital official warned the infants face life-threatening danger if they do not receive treatment outside of the coastal enclave.

A Gaza doctor familiar with their condition said there is a chance that “at least one” of the twins could be saved after surgery.

The decision to treat the twins in Riyadh was made by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was meant to show the kingdom’s commitment “to stand with the Palestinian people,” the supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabiah, said in comments carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Rabiah said doctors in Saudi Arabia would weigh whether it will be possible to separate the baby girls, who are joined at the abdomen and pelvis and share some internal organs.

One-day-old Palestinian conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the nursery on October 22, 2017 at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Shifa Hospital Neo-natal Care Director Alam Abu Hamda told The Times of Israel on Thursday that arrangements to bring the two baby girls, named Hanin and Farah, to the Gulf Kingdom would be made in the next few days.

Hamda said it was likely one of the girls would survive.

“Their case will be reevaluated in Saudi Arabia. We can save one baby at least,” he said. “There is one baby that is abnormal while the other one is fine.”

This is the third case of Siamese twins being born in Gaza in recent years.

Last year, twins were born sharing their entire bodies and organs, except the head, heart and lungs. They did not survive.

One-day-old Palestinian conjoined twins lie in an incubator at the nursery on October 22, 2017 at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

In 2010 conjoined twins from Gaza were transferred to Saudi Arabia for surgery, but doctors in Riyadh said their condition was too delicate for an operation, and they died.

Saudi Arabia has a national program to treat cases of conjoined twins for poor families from around the world that cannot afford the surgery. The program has dealt with over 41 cases since 1990, from over 20 countries, according to the Saudi-based news site Arab News.

Alexander Fulbright and AFP contributed to this report. 

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