LATEST ANNOUNCEMENT: THE HEAD-CONJOINED TWINS FROM BANGLADESH RETURNED HOME FROM HOSPITAL AFTER TWO YEARS

On 15 March 2021 (National Celebration Day of the Freedom Wars of 1848 in Hungary), Rabeya and Rukaya returned home with their parents to their hometown, Pabna.

After their final separation surgery in August 2019, the children lived with their parents and big sister at a separate unit of the Central Military Hospital in Dhaka for one and a half years.

The Hungarian medical team of the Action for Defenceless People Foundation was asked in 2017 to separate the then one and a half-year-old Rabeya and Rukaya in a frame of Bangladeshi- Hungarian cooperation, after 15 years of public medical and health quality improvement activities in Hungary and seven years of missionary work in Bangladesh, based on both the balance of scientific and professional training and faith.

The separation was performed by the Foundation and its volunteer physicians together with Bangladeshi doctors and medical staff as part of a series of surgeries called “Operation Freedom”. Currently, the final phase of “Operation Freedom,” the children’s rehabilitation, is underway, also under the Action for Defenceless People Foundation’s supervision.

“Doctors in our country have gained significant experience with “Operation Freedom” series of surgeries,” said Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, at a video conference organized on the occasion of the event.

The twins’ parents specifically requested Dr Gergely Pataki, the head of the mission, director of the medical team and coordinator of the series of surgeries, to be present at their release from the hospital, which marks a significant milestone in their lives. At the ceremony, Dr Pataki thanked everyone for their successful human and professional cooperation.

In one of the world’s most populated Muslim countries, the success of Operation Freedom cooperation was repeatedly prayed for jointly by Hungarian Catholic and Bangladeshi Muslim and Hindu doctors and medical staff.

In recent months, the mother has mastered the rehabilitation exercises with a physiotherapist and occupational therapist working with the little girls. They will only have to travel for regular check-ups to the Military Hospital and Dhaka CRP Mirpur Rehabilitation Centre and learn and adopt newer rehabilitation exercises.

The Rehabilitation Team of the Action for Defenceless People Foundation volunteers continues to monitor Rabeya and Rukaya’s condition by videophone. They are in constant consultation with their Bangladeshi colleagues abroad. In a year’s time, both children are expected to undergo a minor plastic-restorative intervention on the soft tissue covering the skull by our Foundation’s plastic surgeons. As previously planned, Bangladeshi colleagues, led by Dr Amin Salek, who was actively involved in the little girls’ final separation surgery, took over the neurosurgical work management

Rabeya is going to attend kindergarten according to the plans; her recovery went unhindered. She is developing appropriately for her age and is in good condition. Rukaya’s condition is also steadily improving: she still needs significant development, but she is becoming more and more emotionally present in the family’s daily lives, more and more reacting to external stimuli.

The separated head-conjoined twins Rabeya and Rukaya and their family at a ceremony organized on the event of their discharge from the hospital – Photo: Action for Defenceless People Foundation/ Richard Fuchs

The Action for Defenceless People Foundation team remains exceptionally grateful for our Bangladeshi Colleagues, including prayers and spiritual support. We are incredibly thankful for the safe and modern, friendly environment provided by Combined Military Hospital and Sheikh Hasina National Institute for Burns and Plastic Surgery.

Action for Defenceless People Foundation,

Picture 1: Doctors of the Action for Defenceless People Foundation with the twins and their families – Photos: Action Foundation / Richard Fuchs

Figure 2: The ceremony. On behalf of the Foundation, the founder dr Gergely Pataki thanked for the cooperation – Photos: Action for Defenceless People Foundation / Richard Fuchs

“OPERATION FREEDOM” BACKGROUND:

“Operation Freedom” means Freedom Surgery / Freedom War. The operation’s dual meaning significant by the name’s choice: we refer to The Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 and the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848/49.

In November 2017, after 15 years of volunteering in Hungary and seven years of missionary activity, the medical team of Action for Defenceless People Foundation was asked by the parents and Bangladeshi colleagues to separate the then 1.5-year-old Rabeya and Rukaya with the help of Bangladeshi Medical Specialists.

The first phase of the “Operation Freedom” separation surgery series, designed in our Hungarian-Bangladeshi cooperation and executed in Bangladesh and Hungary, separated the brains’ main common large veins by the endovascular method under the leadership of Dr István Hudák neurosurgeon, in 2018, in Dhaka.

The twins were 2.5 years old when they arrived in Hungary on 5 January 2019 with their family. The second phase – plastic surgery -, the implantation and gradual expansion of the unique Hungarian-designed tissue dilation implant system took place in Budapest from January 2019 under the leadership of plastic surgeon Dr Gergely Pataki, founder of Action for Defenceless People Foundation.

The final separation surgery at the beginning of August 2019 was the third phase of the series of surgeries under the technical guidance of Dr András Csókay.

The fourth phase of “Operation Freedom” is currently undergoing rehabilitation and cranial reconstruction surgeries in plastic and neurosurgery. Rukaya’s skull replacement was completed last December. The tissues covering Rabeya’s skull were pre-treated in December last year and in March this year with a Hungarian-designed self-expanding tissue dilation system and self-fat transplantation intermittently inserted by the Foundation’s plastic surgery team. Based on the previous imaging examinations results, our doctors prepared the soft tissue cover plan, the bone replacement implant implanted in October 2020. The “Operation Freedom” separation surgery series of the head-conjoined twin’s required the close collaboration of several medical fields. Neurosurgery, plastic surgery, anaesthesiology and intensive care worked together on the excellent result. The steps of the series of surgeries are of individual scientific significance: they can pave the way for new treatment options in several medical and professional fields. To continue the rehabilitation and series of surgeries, the Action for Defenceless People Foundation’s Hungarian medical team greatly appreciates/welcomes all spiritual support.

Action for Defenceless People Foundation

Photography by: Action for Defenceless People Foundation/Fuchs Richárd

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