Video shows twins were cautioned

  • ASEAN+
  • Thursday, 12 Feb 2004

SINGAPORE: Iranian twins born joined at the head urged surgeons to press on with an operation to separate them, even if it could kill them, a video shown yesterday at a coroner's inquest into their deaths revealed. 

“You could die from the operation,'' lead surgeon Dr Keith Goh was seen in the video telling 29-year-old Ladan and Laleh Bijani. 

Goh told the twins – who were both law graduates – that if something went wrong, the surgical team could stop the operation. 

“No go on,'' Ladan said. 

“One may die,'' Goh said. 

“I know, God will help,'' Ladan said. 

The 20-minute video taken in June last year was shown on the first day of an inquest into the cause of Ladan and Laleh's deaths on July 8 – 90 minutes apart – and whether the surgeons or Raffles Hospital, where the operation took place, were negligent. 

Goh was also shown on the video listing other risks including paralysis and coma. He added they could live for another 20 years if they remained conjoined. 

The 50-hour surgery, the first attempt to separate adult twins joined at the head, was conducted over three days.  

Goh told the court the sisters died at the end of the operation because surgeons couldn't stop bleeding from previously undetected blood vessels. 

Scans done a day before the operation only showed vessels that had blood flowing through them, Goh said. Surgeons discovered the dormant blood vessels – which suddenly opened – only when the twins were 90% separated, he said. 

“We felt we were at the point of no return,'' Goh said. “Continuing was the only chance we had to stop the bleeding and save the lives of the girls.'' 

Pre-surgery tests also showed that the pressure inside the twins' brains was more than twice what it should have been, he said. That might be why Laleh needed medication to treat headaches, insomnia and depression, he added. – AP

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