March 26, 2006

Egypt “two-head” baby dies a year after operation

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian girl who had an operation
more than a year ago to remove the head of her underdeveloped
twin has died following an infection in her brain, her doctor
said on Sunday.

Egyptian doctors operated on Manar Maged in February 2005,
when she was 10 months old, to remove the second head which was
capable of smiling and blinking but not independent life.

"She was admitted to hospital in a very bad way ... She
died at 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Saturday," said Abla el-Alfy, a
consultant in pediatric intensive care.

"She had a very severe infection in the brain and she
wasn't able to fight it," added Alfy, who was part of the team
that operated on Manar last year in a hospital north of Cairo.

Manar's condition, known as craniopagus parasiticus, is one
of the rarest forms of birth defects and occurs when an embryo
begins to split into twins but does not complete the process.
One of the conjoined twins then fails to fully develop.

Doctors had said surviving the complicated 13-hour
operation was a big achievement.

Manar's condition improved in the months after the
operation to remove her underdeveloped twin but Alfy said she
had suffered from repeated infections since then.