Bekijk Volledige Versie : Familie overtuigde tweeling om door te gaan met operatie, ze wilden niet.

14-07-03, 12:45
'Family persuaded twins to have surgery'
13-07-2003 By Behzad Farsian in Teheran
London,, The Sunday Telegraph:

A leading American neurosurgeon who took part in the failed operation to
separate Iranian twin sisters fused at the head said yesterday that he
would not repeat the procedure because it was too dangerous.

As Laleh and Ladan Bijani were buried in adjoining graves close to their
home village in southern Iran, Ben Carson said: "With the knowledge that
has been gained here, I would not do it the same way. Armed with this
information, I wouldn't be enthusiastic about it and I would probably
discourage people from it."

Dr Carson, from the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Children's Centre in
Baltimore, said that the 29-year-old sisters had insisted that the
operation should go ahead, even though doctors in Singapore warned them of
the dangers. Even during the surgery, the medical team wanted to abandon
the operation at one stage, but were told by an unnamed relative to continue.

His comments will compound the anger of the twins' adoptive parents,
Alireza Safaian and Iran Karmi. They were bitterly opposed to the
operation, but lost their influence two years ago when the twins' natural
father - who, they say, abandoned the girls shortly after birth - reclaimed
his next-of-kin status after a court battle.

Dr Safaian is considering legal action against the Singapore hospital where
the twins died on Tuesday from massive blood loss after more than 50 hours
of surgery. He is convinced that the sisters had been swayed in their
decision to go ahead by those around them - a belief strengthened when it
emerged that the next of kin had insisted that the operation should not be

His medical practice near Teheran was swamped with visitors and telephone
callers offering their condolences last week. In a voice breaking with
emotion, he told The Telegraph: "They made a show of the twins. They killed
one at 11 o'clock and the other at one. I spent my time and love on the
twins to show the world that they could be treated as two individuals. They
could have represented Iran at the UN or have been diplomats for our country.

"They were capable of so much good in our bad world. The girls showed the
world that disabled children are just as able as other children in their
studies, social life and well-being."

Dr Safaian, who said that his wife was too depressed and shocked to talk,
described his emotional turmoil as he saw the twins on satellite television
less than an hour before the operation. "Laleh looked cool and calm. She
was dancing and laughing. But Ladan looked unhappy. I was sad to see her
go. I felt it wasn't her wish to go through with it. But they took Laleh
and Ladan into the operating room."

After adopting the girls, Dr Safaian took them to Germany for medical
examination, but was told that the chance of them surviving an operation to
separate them was slim. "They told me that if an operation was to take
place, one would definitely die and the other would only have a five per
cent chance of survival."

He turned to Ayatollah Khomeini for advice, visiting the Shia spiritual
leader who was then living in exile in Iraq.

"He told me that if these twins sleep in the same bed as two people, one
asleep one reading, or if they favour two different foods, then killing one
to save the other is murder. He was vehemently against an operation."

On returning to Iran, and completing custodial formalities to gain full
legal guardianship of the twins, Dr Safaian and his wife took Laleh and
Ladan into their own home in Teheran instead of placing them in hospital

Dr Safaian recently opened a charitable foundation for conjoined children
at the specially-built complex in Karaj, 20 miles west of the Iranian
capital, where Ladan and Laleh lived most of their lives. He has so far
adopted eight children, one of whom has his hands stuck together.

As we sit and talk, Dr Safaian asks his daughter Golnaz, 19, to bring in a
video cassette showing scenes from the twins' childhood. Both break down in
tears as they watch the tape and particularly the remarkable scene in which
they take turns to ride a bicycle while the other walks alongside. Other
pictures show them playfully trying to touch Ayatollah Khomeini's beard at
a later meeting.

Even as we watched the video, Dr Safaian received two more visitors, young
men who had studied with the sisters at Teheran University where they
gained law degrees. "Never did they seem unhappy," said one of the men. "At
first it was unusual for us, but after three or four days, the other
students and I saw Laleh and Ladan as two individuals."

Despite Dr Safaian's misgivings, the two sisters had told Golnaz that they
were happy to go ahead with the operation. "They seemed very enthusiastic
and re-assured me that the technology to separate them had come a long way
since my father contemplated it," she said.

Under Islamic law in Iran, even adult daughters must have a "legal" father.
His consent is required for marriage and travel outside the country, when
the daughter is single. The twins' biological father, Dadollah Bijani, a
poor farmer, claimed that he had lost track of his daughters in the chaos
of the Islamic Revolution - when they were aged six - and went to court to
regain his next-of-kin status two years ago. He did not, however, go with
them to Singapore.

At their funeral yesterday, the Bijani family's modest mud-and-brick home
in the village of Lohrasb, 700 miles south west of Teheran, was draped in
black banners. "We send our condolences to the Iranian nation on the
departure of these two birds, Laleh and Ladan," read one.

The Sunday Telegraph