A mother from the Central African Republic says she wants her twin daughters to grow and “become doctors to save other children” after the girls were successfully separated at the head in a hospital in the Vatican City.
Mum Ermine gave birth to conjoined twins Ervina and Prefina who remained so for two years. But an 18-hour operation to separate them at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital last Tuesday involving 30 doctors and nurses, proved successful.
“Ervina and Prefina were born twice. If we had stayed in Africa I don’t know what fate they would have had,” Ermine reportedly said after the operation. She was also thankful to the hospital staff and hopes the Pope could baptize her daughters who turned two on June 29.
The hospital says the girls are in great condition after the surgery. Either girl still has their full brain and is expected to have a normal cognitive development.
“It was an exciting moment, a fantastic, unrepeatable experience. It was a very ambitious goal and we did everything to achieve it, with passion, optimism and joy,” said Carlos Marras, who led the surgery team.
Ermine and her daughters have been in Italy since September 2018 for the operation. The first phase of the surgery was done in May 2019, more than one year before the completion phase.
Craniopagus twins or twins born conjoined at the head is one of the rarest forms of abnormalities at birth anywhere in the world. In the United States, only between 2 and 6% of conjoined twins are fused together at the head.
Researchers do not know how this gestational abnormality happens but some theorists suggest that conjoined twins develop as a result of the failed fusion of a single fertilized egg cell.