Life seems to always send surprises our way. Sometimes they are good. Sometimes they aren’t so good. And sometimes they are just strange and unusual.
Well, this week, life sent me an unusual surprise. A 14-year-old girl arrived at the government hospital with a deformity described as a “parasitic twin.” Many of you have heard of the Siamese twins – conjoined twins that are attached at the waist. Several stories of conjoined twins being surgically separated have made the news over the years. This girl is similar, but the second, “parasitic” twin is incomplete. It has no head, but instead has a deformed trunk with undeveloped arms and legs protruding from the girl’s pelvis. She can walk normally, and, when she wears a loose dress, it is even difficult to know that she has this twin attached to her. She has even attended school and just completed 7th grade.
There is more to learn about her and why she and the family waited until she was 14 years old before bringing her to see doctors. We’ll learn more as we get to know them better. But in the meantime, the surgeons have agreed that the best place for her surgery is at the CURE Hospital. She’s undergoing extensive testing at the government hospital right now and then will be transferred to our hospital on Monday, with surgery scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday.
For those of you that pray, please lift us up! This is going to be very difficult surgery, and worldwide, very few surgeons have had any experience at all with these surgeries. This type of deformity probably only occurs in less than one in a million births. To have the patient present as a teenager has probably never been documented before.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
Originally posted at http://ethiopia.thebernards.org/2012/06/24/from-the-cure-ethiopia-medical-director/.