Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital has come out to clarify on allegations raised by Atiku Benard, the Member of Parliament representing Ayivu county, after he accused the Ministry of Health and Mulago hospital of “condemning two conjoined twins to death”.
The legislator posted on his Facebook page on Friday making reference to a case in which an underprivileged couple hailing from Arua district gave birth to conjoined twins and was referred to Mulago hospital. The case was referred by Arua regional referral hospital.
MP Atiku said that on arrival at the national referral hospital, the “poor” couple was asked to pay a sum of Shs 5 million before they could be attended to.
“The family unfortunately could not raise the money and have been told to go back to Arua to wait for their death,” the legislator wrote in a post.
He described the action as heartless, and rallied the public to solicit funds to assist the family.
However, the Mulago women’s specialized hospital has responded to the MP’s allegations, saying the twins were admitted and examined and that medics had discovered that the twins could not be separated.
The hospital says the conjoined twins were delivered at Arua regional referral hospital by Caesarian section and they arrived at Mulago hospital on September 25.
“On arrival, they were noted to be very sick and were transferred to the NICU in Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital by the Paed-Surgeon after reviewing them,” said Dr Jolly Nankunda, the Acting Deputy Director of the Specialized Women’s Hospital in Mulago.
Dr Nankunda says that in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the infants were put on oxygen and warmth under a radiant warmer to help improve their breathing and color.
“They were noted to be joined from the thorax abdomen up to the pelvis. They were sharing the abdomen with a common umbilicus and a tight omphalocele with no anal opening. A smaller twin had a severe microcephaly and the twins had a fused pelvis with 3 lower limbs.
The hospital says investigations into the twins’ case revealed that they had a single stomach and shared a urinary bladder and liver. The smaller twin had a smaller heart with multiple defects. The pair was joined at the pelvis with an imperforate anus.
“The surgical team came to a conclusion that the twins were inseparable and they discussed with the medical team and agreed on palliative care for the babies,” Dr Nankunda said.
She adds that a family conference was held with the father and mother of the babies and the condition of the conjoined twins was explained to them. Dr Nankunda says the parents understood that the operation (to separate them) was not possible and the babies were to be kept on palliative care.
“The father signed in the file to acknowledge that he had been explained to about the condition of the babies and had understood that the babies were for palliative care. The father immediately wanted to take the babies back to a facility near his home and requested for a transfer back to Arua”.
The hospital says the parents took the babies on October 3 on their (parents) request.