Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Health News

Conjoined twins' mother hails little fighters

The mother of conjoined twins undergoing separation surgery today revealed her pain and anguish in a poem about her "little fighters"

Angie Benhaffaf said they need "just one more miracle" for her baby boys Hassan and Hussein to successfully recover from their "final battle".

The brothers, from east Cork in Ireland, were born in December at University College London Hospital.

They are expected to undergo surgery for around 20 hours at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In a poem, Mrs Benhaffaf said she and her husband Azzedine felt cursed and cried so much when they were originally told during the pregnancy the boys may share a heart.

But their cries turned to tears of joy when "my little fighters were born" on December 2, she wrote.

"'The little fighters' is the name ye share/ You have earned it well, as you fought to be here/ Your final battle is getting near/ We are all behind you, so have no fear."

The Benhaffafs have relocated their entire family - including girls Malika, four, and Iman, two - to London for the operation and recovery.

Mrs Benhaffaf said she was praying to God her boys would feel no pain.

"No matter how this will all end/ I am forever grateful for the time we did spend," she wrote.

"Always remember, you are not alone/ Please God someday, we'll all return home/ I feel I must be one of the luckiest mums/ To have not one, but two precious sons."

Surgery to separate the four-month-old boys at Great Ormond Street Hospital is being led by Edward Kiely, a consultant paediatric surgeon from Cork.

The marathon operation will involve a team of 20 medics, including paediatric surgeons, paediatric anaesthetists and plastic surgeons, working on a rota system.

Expert cardiologists and support staff will also be on standby for the procedure.

The boys are joined at the chest but do not share any major organs.

The Benhaffaf family is preparing to remain in London for up to four months to allow Hassan and Hussein to fully recuperate from the operation.

In a statement from the hospital, Mr and Mrs Benhaffaf thanked everybody involved in their boys' care and the public for their best wishes and support.

A special fund was set up in Ireland to help the boys' parents cover medical costs.