South Africa’s Siamese twins Keamogetse and Tirayaone have died at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The tiny fluffy-haired girls who stole the nation’s heart when they made headlines in November last year were born conjoined at the chest and abdomen. Each of the girls had her own heart but they shared a liver and pericardial sac. When the girls were born doctors were confident they had a good chance of separating the little ones who had spent their lives in an incubator at the high care neonatal ward. The family also thought that it was a matter of time before the twins could join them at their home in Klerksdorp, North West. But all hopes were shattered when the family received a call from the hospital to inform them that the girls had battled with oxygen and died on Sunday.
Five-month-old Keamogetse and Tirayaone were born to their 15-year-old mother Nonofo Radibe. She turns 17 in November and since the birth of her children Nonofo has not been able to lead a normal life as she could not dote on them because of their sensitive medical condition. Nonofo’s sister and guardian Rose Disebo said the family was grieving the loss of their children. “We are sad but fine and the mother is coping,” she said. “We are also awaiting the post-mortem results and making arrangements for the funeral.”
Dr Antoinette Cilliers, a paediatric cardiologist at the hospital who told reporters that the girls shared a pericardial sac which is a cone-shaped sac which surrounds the heart, would not comment because she is not allowed to speak to the media. Only one in every 2.5 million births results in conjoined twins and most of these children die within the first 24 hours, so our little ones put up a great fight.