Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mother grieved over conjoined twins

Angie Benhaffaf her son Hassan

The mother of conjoined twins separated by surgeons has described how she "grieved" when she found out something was wrong with her pregnancy.

Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, of Cork, underwent a 14-hour operation at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital in April.

Following the surgery, parents Angie and Azzedine took them home, where they live with their two daughters Malika and Iman.

Speaking on ITV1's Bond Of Brothers: Tonight programme, Mrs Benhaffaf recalled the moment she was told she was carrying conjoined twins during an antenatal scan.

"She said 'I'm seeing something I've never seen before. The babies are joined together'. I just grieved. I went home, put my little scan picture into a beautiful frame, and I stayed there for six weeks just looking at the picture," she said.

About 20 staff, including four anaesthetists and four surgeons, worked in shifts during the complex procedure to separate the boys, who were joined from the chest to the pelvis but did not share any major organs.

The operation did leave them with one leg each, however, and now they are preparing to be fitted with prosthetic limbs. But Mrs Benhaffaf said she was shocked when she saw her sons with prosthetic limbs for the first time.

"We'd never seen a prosthetic before and we didn't know what a prosthetic would look like.

"I remember I was holding Hassan and Hussain was put in his little prosthetic first," she said. "I remember my first time on seeing him placed in this, and then in the little bumper chair, and my immediate reaction was I had to hand Hassan over to Azzedine and I just burst out crying and I ran out of the room.

"Hussain looked so tiny and so vulnerable, and it hit me how far they still have to go."

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