- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) | Formerly conjoined Bangladeshi twins spent their first night in separate beds and were in serious but stable condition Wednesday after a marathon surgery to separate the toddlers, who were joined at their heads.

Trishna and Krishna, who turn 3 next month, shared skull, blood vessels and brain tissue. They were separated Tuesday after 25 hours of delicate surgery and reconstruction by a team of 16 surgeons and nurses.

“It was amazing to see,” said Dr. Leo Donnan, chief of surgery at Royal Children’s Hospital. “The girls look very different.”

He said the girls are in serious but stable condition in the intensive care unit.

It is too early to know whether the girls suffered any brain damage during the marathon operation - an outcome doctors said was a 50-50 chance. The girls will remain in an induced coma for monitoring for several days.

“Their bodies have to recover from this, and we’ve got a lot of unknown territory we’re moving into,” Dr. Donnan said. “All I can say is that everything is in place for the best possible outcome. The main thing is that the girls are healthy.”

During the surgery, doctors said that the girls improved as their bodies began to work individually for the first time.

Before the surgery, doctors had said there was a 50 percent chance the girls could suffer brain damage and a 25 percent chance one of the sisters would die.

Trishna and Krishna were found in an orphanage in Bangladesh in 2007 by a representative from the Children First Foundation, who brought to them to Australia.

Moira Kelly, the girls’ legal guardian who brought them to Australia, was said to be overcome by the day’s dramatic developments, according to Agence France-Presse.

“I think she’s overwhelmed this has come to fruition,” said Margaret Smith, her colleague at the Children First Foundation charity. “She’s just so grateful to the team here that they’ve been able to pull this off.”

Some 16 specialists worked through the night, taking occasional food and rest breaks, and listening to pop music in the operating theater to stay alert, as the operation ran hours past its scheduled midnight finish.

The girls were brought to Australia in November 2007 after spending their first few months in the Mother Teresa home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where aid workers became alarmed at their fading health and doctors said they were powerless to help.

The Mother Teresa home’s senior nun Sister Olivet said extra prayers were said during the operation.

“Yesterday everyone in the home took turns to pray for them,” she said.

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