One of Odisha twins separated by rare surgery dies

Kalia, one of the twins, who were craniopagus conjoined and then separated in one of most complex operations ever carried out in India, passed away at SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack on Wednesday. He died of septicaemia.

His twin brother, Jaga, was, however, doing fine. The rare conjoined twins were separated at AIIMS, New Delhi by a massive medical team. The separation that went down as one of the rarest operations in India’s medical history lasted for several hours on August 28, 2017.

“Kalia’s condition had deteriorated five days ago. He was put on ventilator for past two days. His condition turned extremely critical due to septicaemia on Wednesday. Despite best efforts by a team of doctors, we could not save him,” said Bhubanananda Moharana, emergency officer of SCB Medical College Hospital.

Both Jaga and Kalia had been under active supervision of doctors at SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack ever since they returned from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar in September 2019.

Puspanjali Kanhar and Bhuyan Kanhar, parents of Jaga and Kalia, belonged to a poor tribal family in Milipada village in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. The twins have two older brothers, Dhaitya, 10, and Ajit, 8.

The plight of twins was first highlighted in local media. It soon caught the attention of the State government, which promised to bear all expenses for the operation. The twins, then two years old, were first brought to AIIMS, New Delhi in July 2017. They then had a combined weight of 20 kg.

After a lot of consultations and preparations at AIIMS, New Delhi, doctors from different disciplines got their act together for the complex operation. The combined surgery time to separate twins was 45 hours.

“Kalia was destined to live on earth only a few years. The facilities in AIIMS, New Delhi were definitely better than SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack. We will return to hospital after performing his last rites at our village in Kandhamal,” said Mr. Bhuyan.

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