used all available technology to help the
twins during their first hours of life.
Recently while the world's attention was directed
at reports from Iran of Siamese twins being separated,
Armenia had its own similar news.
On July 6 the first recorded Armenian Siamese
twins were born at Yerevan Center of Perinatology,
Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Twins were expected, but physician Anahit Mkhchyan
who performed the Cesarean operation was shocked
to find them joined at the stomach. The babies
weighed only 1,700 grams each.
It was quickly determined that the twins shared
only one set of vital organs and emergency surgery
would be required.
"One of the children that was the first
to come, when it was still not known that they
were joined was strongly pulled and her state
was comparatively worse than the condition of
the other," explains Nikolay Dallakyan, chief
pediatrics surgeon. "This is the reason we
had to make a rather bold decision 10 hours after
the operation, which was to separate them."
The babies had a single heart vessel system,
one liver, one duodenum and the fact that the
other important organs were one-for-two was making
it clear that only one of them could survive.
But the separating operation is usually held later,
when the children have developed more. In the
case of the Armenian twins, however, the circumstance
was too critical to delay.
The baby girls were separated and, as expected,
one died. The other rather miraculously survived,
and after nine days was switched from full to
partial artificial respiration. But after two
weeks and three operations, she also died of complications.
Doctors say it was against incredible odds that
either of the babies lived for even two weeks.
And while the unusual birth might have advanced
medical science in Armenia, reaction from the
family was not a shining moment for cultural awareness.
Even while the babies were struggling, the grandparents
were calling them "the devil's babies"
and told doctors they would not pay for their
treatment and would not allow them to be taken
Further, as a result of the Siamese birth, the
father denounced and divorced his wife.
It was the first childbearing for the mother
(who asked not to be named).
"Not only have I lost my two children but
my husband as well," she said. "My entire
family is lost."