Surgical separation of thoraopagus twins
Walusimbi, Abdul Hafiz
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Eng and Chang bunker were the first pair of conjoined twins recorded in medical annals of gynaecology and obstetrics. Born in Siam, Thailand today, on May 10, 1811, attached by a five- inch connecting ligament near their breastbones, Eng. and Chang grew and lived a fairly private life and involved in successful business in North Carolina. They later married sisters, Sallie and Adelaide Yates respectively, produced 21 children between them and lived until they passed away in 1874 at the age of 63 years. It was after their death that medical doctors established that surgical separation could have been possible. Recent statistics put the rate of conjoined twins at a range of 1 in 50000 to 1 in 200000 births. Though conjoined twins have been the subject of scientific exhibits and medical study for quite a long time, it became a subject of courtroom battle in 2000, when the surgical separation of conjoined twins, Jodie and Mary, the children of Michael Angelo and Rina Attard of the Maltese Island of Gozo surfaced and sought judicial intervention. The case illustrated the difficulty of applying legal principles to unprecedented life-and-death decisions involving proposed medical interventions for children- particularly when parents and physicians disagree about what should be done. Despite the proliferation of sophisticated surgery techniques, the risk of surgical separation still stands high; in case of survival of both of them, anaesthesia, surgical complications, and other effects usually follow the successful separation process. But despite all these effects, medical doctors are convinced that the present quality of life is so worthless that the risky dangerous surgery is justified and should be performed. This research presents the Islamic law (Shar'iah) perspective towards the surgical separation of Thoraopagus conjoined twins whose separation involves certain death of a weaker twin to save the stronger one as presented in the cases of twins Jane and Louisa and Mary and Jodie that will be reviewed in this paper.