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Formerly Joined Twins to Go Home

November 17, 2001|From Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Twin girls from Nepal who were born joined at the head and separated during a 100-hour operation in Singapore are going home, but their future remains uncertain, doctors said Friday.

After more than a year in Singapore General Hospital, Ganga and Jamuna Shrestha will return to Katmandu on Sunday with their parents and grandparents.

However, doctors at a news conference cautioned that the 18-month-old girls will not be "like any other children when they grow up."

"We can't really tell for sure what type of disability they will end up with, but there will be some kind of disability," said Ho Lai Yun, a member of the team of doctors that operated on the twins.

Dr. Keith Goh, who coordinated the surgery to separate the girls in April, said the operation had left them with irregularly shaped heads, and they could face social challenges as a result.

"But they do look a lot better than if they remained conjoined," he said. "In that state they could never go out."

The girls' family will move from the village of Khalanga to the Nepalese capital, Katmandu, to be close to a hospital where the twins will continue to undergo treatment.

The twins' father, Bushan K. Chatria, said the move will be difficult.

"We have no job, we have no money," he said.

The two girls captured the hearts of Singaporeans, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for pay their medical expenses. Doctors performed the surgery for free, and the country's national air carrier, Singapore Airlines, paid for the family's trip from Nepal.

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