Centre constitutes medical team to examine conjoint twins

New Delhi: The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that it has constituted a three-member expert medical team to examine and provide medical aid to the two teenaged conjoint twins from Bihar.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told the court that the team would comprise of two expert paediatricians from AIIMS, Minoo Bajpai and A K Bisoi, besides Dr Mukul Verma of Apollo Hospital.

The counsel told the apex court that Verma was co-opted into the team as conjoint expert Dr Benjamin Carson was based in the USA and not available.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra while recording the Centre`s submission asked the government to file a report on the girls` condition within two weeks.
The apex court also directed the Bihar Government to locate the whereabouts of the twins and assist the Centre`s team in providing aids and assistance to the girls.

The apex court on July 16 had asked the Centre to form a medical board to provide treatment to the 16-year-old conjoint twins Saba and Farah Saleem from Bihar, observing that "the acute agony of the girls would shock anybody`s conscience."

The court`s order had come on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Aarushi Dhasmana, a second year law student from Pune, seeking medical aid for the girls.

Quoting newspaper reports, the petition filed through counsel Ravi Prakash Gupta, had said the two grown up girls born as twins joined at the head are undergoing immense pain and are unable to even sleep due to consistent acute pain.

While seeking medical aid at government`s expenditure, the PIL said if it is not possible, the parents be permitted to adopt "mercy killing" for the twins.

Saba and Farah have been bedridden and are experiencing persistent, acute agony and distress and are neither able to sleep adequately nor get up from their bed and this has made their lives miserable, said Dhasmana`s petition.

It said the twins` father, Mohammad Shakeel, a tea stall owner in Patna, who is distressed by their growing sufferings, had pleaded for mercy killing for his twins last year.

Gupta had said an expert team headed by Dr Benjamin Carson about 5 years ago had opined that separating Saba and Farah would require five or six operations, spread over nine months, but each stage held a one-in-five chance that either of the girls might die.

The twins` family had decided against the surgery, despite Abu Dhabi`s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed offering to pay for it, the petition had said.

A team under Dr Benjamin Carson, a US specialist, had found that they shared a vital blood vessel in the brain, and that Farah had two kidneys, while Saba had none, it added.
The petition said "due to lack of sufficient financial resources, their family has been unable to provide them with adequate medical treatment and facilities."

Accordingly, the father of the conjoint twins should be given either the financial support to treat his daughters or be granted permission for mercy killing, the petition said.


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