Conjoined newborn twins incredibly survived a dangerous 15-hour journey to be separated.
Babies Anick and Destin were born at 37 weeks in a remote village in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August. The little girls were joined at the navel and shared vital internal organs. Realizing their daughters required surgery, parents Claudine Mukhena and Zaiko Munzadi wrapped their one-week-old babies in a blanket and embarked on a remarkable 870-mile trek via land and sky.
As the BBC reported, the family first traversed jungle and rough terrain on a motorbike to get to the nearest hospital in Vanga. Doctors there were amazed the twins had been born naturally and without complication.
“At 37 weeks, conjoined twins born naturally – it’s unheard of,” Dr. Junior Mudji said.
Without the proper equipment or experience to perform the complex surgery at the small hospital, the decision was made to transfer the twins to a larger medical facility in Kinshasa, some 300 miles away. According to the BBC, the family was flown by MAF, a humanitarian airline that operates in remote regions, rather than risk another long journey over dangerous roads.
The surgery was apparently a success and is believed to be the first separation procedure ever performed in the central African nation. The girls are now back in Vanga under the care of Dr. Mudji and are expected to be able to return home to the village of Muzombo in the next three weeks.
“They are doing fine, they sleep well and eat well. In general, they are doing well,” the physician said. “We will keep them here for three more weeks to be sure everything is normal.”