The fate of Vani and Veena, co-joined twins who will turn 13 this year, remains uncertain as their 10-year stay at Niloufer Hospital draws to an end. The girls’ family is unwilling to take them home citing poverty, and the government, it seems, is not leaving room for choice.
Ever since they arrived here in 2006, the twins have been staying at Niloufer Hospital. Hopes for separating the co-joined twins were presented to the family a few times only to end in disappointment. In a recent instance, doctors at All India Institute of Medical Institute of Sciences, New Delhi, deemed the separation surgery too risky to attempt. They cited an intricate venous network the twins share.
Niloufer Hospital administration has asked the family to take the girls home or hand them over to a State home. “Children over the age of 12 are not provided stay at the hospital,” said Dr. Ramesh Reddy, head of paediatric surgery at the hospital, as he mentioned mortality risk involved in separating the twins. “We have asked the family to take them home or send them to a State home.” He said word from the girls’ parents is awaited.
Contrastingly, the girls’ father, Naga Murali, had sought employment, housing and assistance for the girls’ future from the government. Having consented permission for separating his daughters, he also wrote in a letter to the government requesting the State to take up the separation procedure should an opportunity arise for it in the future. Vani and Veena have been staying at Niloufer. A teacher visits the children, whose plight has been extensively reported.