Monday, April 22, 2024

Conjoined Twins Proving Everyone Wrong After Being Given Days to Live

When Ndeye and Marieme were born, doctors told their parents that they would only survive for a few days.

Now, the girls – who are thought to be the only pair of living conjoined twins in Europe – are seven years old. While they each have their own personalities, they rely on each other for survival.

Their dad, Ibrahima, said they were ‘told from the beginning’ that they would only survive for a few days, which led them to ‘live for the present.’

conjoined twins
Ndeye and Marieme recently celebrated their seventh birthdays

In the UK, conjoined twins are extremely rare at one per 500,000 live births. Approximately half are stillborn, with another one-third dying 24 hours after birth.

Given the odds, Ibrahima is overjoyed that his daughters were able to celebrate their seventh birthday with friends recently. He’s also grateful for the medical doctors and teams that have cared for them.

Ndeye and Marieme share one pelvis and one pair of legs but have their own hearts and spinal cords. According to their father, they have very different personalities – with Marieme being more quiet and Ndeye being more extroverted and independent.

The conjoined twins were born in 2016 in Senegal. At the time, their parents were only expecting one baby. After being told their chances, Ibrahima braced himself ‘to lose them very quickly’.

Ibrahima has chosen to stay in Cardiff with his daughters so they can receive medical treatment and care

The doctors told them that their best chance of survival was separation. Desperate to save them, Ibrahima began to call numerous hospitals for help.

A year later, they arrived at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, a renowned children’s hospital that had separated more conjoined twins than anywhere else worldwide. He hoped that the doctors there would be able to separate the twins, which would allow them to return to their home in Dakar.

Upon testing, however, it was determined that Marianne’s heart was too weak for the complicated procedure.

The doctors warned their parents that neither daughter would survive more than a few months without separation. However, Ibrahima could not go forward with the surgery knowing that he would have to ‘kill one of his children for another.’

Their mother eventually returned to Dakar to take care of their other children while Ibrahima remained in London with the twins for medical care.

conjoined twins diagram

Dr. Gillian Body, a pediatrician at the University Hospital of Whales, described the twins as something ‘[he] only ever read about in textbooks.’ While they share one pelvis and one pair of legs, they have several organs, some of which are shared and some of which are not, as you move up through their abdomen.

The seven-year-olds are currently students at a local primary school in Cardiff, where they are helped by two support workers in the classroom.

Their next goal is for them to stand and walk. So far, they’re able to manage 15 to 20 minutes a day with a walker.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.


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