Formerly Conjoined Twins Now Happy and Healthy, Defying All Odds
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A little over two years ago Sierra Leone native, Isatu Alusine discovered that she was carrying triplets. Unfortunately, one of them, their baby boy, didn’t live past birth, increasing the desire of her and her husband to make sure the other two were safe.  

Although the two girls were born on Sept. 11, 2019, the parents soon realized the babies were attached to the chest and belly. 

Nurturing and taking care of the babies, in the beginning, proved to be a tough task.

Alusine explained, “They were on oxygen for the first week and even after that (they) required special care. It was difficult to hold them and to feed them, and even changing diapers was tough.” 

This created a sense of urgency in surgically separating the twins. Only 7.5 percent of conjoined twins survive and only 60 percent of the separated twins survive. 

 “We don’t know how it plays out in this particular case. There might be something that we don’t know may happen because it’s not a common procedure … The most experienced (doctors) will probably see a couple of cases in their life.” Dr. Tomoaki Kato stated. 

Dr. Kato is a highly experienced doctor himself as the chief of the division of abdominal organ transplant at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. 

Eventually, this family found themselves going from Sierra Leone to New York City because it was harder to find care. The twins were 5-month-old when they underwent the nine-hour surgery, and they were accompanied by more than 30 healthcare professionals. 

The X-ray diagram of the twins’ surgery. Photo: NY Presbyterian

Putting their professional skills to the test they begin simulating the surgery to make sure the process went smoothly. 

Although the surgery was successful some issues took place after the fact. 

“The heart became tight so a few days after surgery, things started to escalate,” Kato said. “One of the babies was getting sicker and sicker.” 

Eventually both twins Hassanatu and Hussainatu, now 2, were able to fully recover and live healthy lives. 

Today, Isatu Alusine and her family are extremely happy with the results of the surgery and give all credit for its success to their faith.