18 Nov 2009

Conjoined girls' guardian overjoyed at surgical separation

9:14 pm on 18 November 2009

The guardian of newly separated conjoined twin girls has spoken of her "relief and joy" at seeing the girls in different cots for the first time.

Trishna and Krishna are both sedated and in a stable condition in Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital after surgeons worked for more than 26 hours to separate them.

The two-year-old girls, from Bangladesh, had been joined at the head. Doctors say they are showing no sign of brain damage.

The girls' guardian, Moira Kelly, who sees herself as their mother, says she finds it hard to believe the twins are apart. She says that when she heard the operation had been successful she sat in her room and cried for 15 minutes with "joy and relief".

Not out of danger yet

The hospital's head of surgery, Leo Donnan, says the girls will be kept sedated for a number of days before being slowly woken up.

"To see them as separate human beings is pretty special," he says.

Despite the operation's success, Mr Donnan says, the twins are not out of the woods yet. It will be several days before surgeons know whether they are out of danger.

Shortly after their birth, their mother placed the twins in a Dhaka orphanage where two Australian volunteers took up their case. They are now under the care of Australia's Children's First Foundation.