Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:29 am (KSA) 21:29 pm (GMT)

Gaza conjoined twins die: Saudi minister

The Saudi hospital has a unit specializing in conjoined twins (File)
The Saudi hospital has a unit specializing in conjoined twins (File)

Two-week old conjoined twins born in the Gaza strip died in Riyadh on Saturday after doctors said their condition was too delicate to operate, the Saudi health minister said.

Abdullah al-Rabeeah, who is also head of the medical team that was treating Rital and Ritaj, said the two could not be separated surgically because they had a bacterial infection in their chests and because their hearts, livers and digestive systems were intertwined.

 Their situation worsened as the medical team had expected 
Abdullah al-Rabeeah

"Their situation worsened as the medical team had expected," he said in a statement announcing their deaths.

The two girls were born March 27 -- the first ever in the impoverished Gaza Strip -- and doctors there lacked the resources to treat them. They requested help from Saudi Arabia, which has world renowned facilities for separating conjoined twins.

Saudi King Abdullah heard about the twins through the media and ordered they be brought to the kingdom for surgery. The king has funded such surgeries in the kingdom from other parts of the world.

The twins ran into obstacles in getting there. They had to obtain passports from the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank, permission from Israel and approval from the Egyptian government to open the border out of Gaza.

The twins were treated at the National Guard hospital in Riyadh by a top flight medical team, said the minister.

He said birth defects for the 2-week-old twins had made their survival doubtful.

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