Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Hospital, Abuja, yesterday, handed over co-joined twins, Goodness and Mercy, to their parents after a successful surgery which lasted over 12 hours.
The co-joined babies were delivered at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Keffi, Nasarawa State, on August 13, 2018 to Michael and Mariah Martins.
They were referred to the National Hospital for possible separation being co-joined on the chest and abdomen.
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Jaf Momoh, said the surgery cost the hospital about N20 million. He, however, said the hospital bore the cost of the operation, as well as bills incurred for the pre and post-surgery care and maintenance of the babies as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Lead Surgeon, Prof. Emmanuel Ameh, said a team of 78 indigenous medical professionals, comprising surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists, paediatricians, radiologists, haematologists, chemical pathologists, and pharmacists conducted the surgery on November 14, 2019, a date the babies turned 15 months.
He attributed the success of the surgery to the committed and interdisciplinary team work, support and encouragement from the management of the hospital on the team. Ameh also commended parents of the babies for the patience and trust on the team.
He said pre-surgery examination conducted revealed that the babies shared vital organs including, liver, chest wall, diaphragm and pericardium. Ameh said experts , however, successfully shared the liver for the two babies using modern medical equipment.
Ministers of Health, Osagie Ehanire; State for Health, Olorumnibe Mamoral; Women Affairs, Paullen Tallen, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Abdullahi Mashi, attended the event.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire expressed joy that the surgery was planned and executed by a team of local medical professionals, saying it was an indication that Nigeria had skilled manpower in medicine and surgery for complex medical operations.
Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has offered automatic employment to the mother of the children, when she said she was unemployed.
Father of the babies, Michael, thanked God for using doctors at the Abuja National Hospital to save the lives of his children.He said he had lost hope when his wife was delivered of co-joined twins because he knew the huge amount that would be involved in the correctional surgery and he lacked the wherewithal to bankroll the surgery to separate the twins.