A set of conjoined twins was recently delivered at South Africa's Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital-the largest hospital in the world. The babies, who are joined at the chest and abdomen, are currently residing in the hospital's intensive-care neonatal ward.
Conjoined twins account for only one in every 2.5 million births. There are only about five sets of conjoined twins living around the world at any point in time. Most babies born in this condition die within 24 hours of birth, though there have been some extraordinary stories of conjoined twins surviving. Danielle and Danika Lowton, Indian twins born in 2006 that were joined at the head, were successfully separated in a 16-hour operation.
This is not the hospital's first experience with conjoined twins. Mpho and Mphonyana Mathibela were born joined at the head, and were successfully separated at the hospital in 1986. Although they survived the operation, Mphonyana died a year later and Mpho was left with brain damage.
The mother of the babies is 15 years old. The case was referred to the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital from Klerksdorp because of the mother's age, reported Johanna More, the hospital's CEO. On Friday, Ntombi Mekgwe, Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development, will hold a press conference explaining the children's condition and the hospital's plans.