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Conjoined twins in the spotlight

(China Daily)

15:04, November 09, 2011

Xinxin (left) and Qiaoqiao were the focus of intense media interest. [China Daily]

The tragic and highly publicized case of conjoined twins Xinxin and Qiaoqiao in Chongqing, shone the spotlight on this rare condition. Conjoined twins are generally born to poor individuals in China and, in addition to the financial problems faced by parents, they can also face discrimination due to a lack of understanding. While doctors and hospitals are quick to offer help, often free of charge, as cases receive significant media attention, there are few if any support groups for parents.

Yang Peng, a 23-year-old pediatric nurse at Xinqiao Hospital in Chongqing, says she had a bad feeling before taking the phone call that informed her the conjoined twins she had been caring for had failed to make it through another emergency. "I was not totally unprepared but, still, it was heartrending to hear they had passed away," Yang says of the call she got at 5 pm on Oct 3. The baby girls, Xinxin and Qiaoqiao, had lived for 152 days, a record survival time in China for such a complicated case of conjoined twins, pediatrician Meng Meng says. They had two heads, two spines, two stomachs, two lungs and two kidneys but only one trunk, one gallbladder, one spleen, one pelvis and one urogenital system. They had 1.5 hearts.

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