Neurosurgeon 'surprised' operation took place

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GERMANY: A neurosurgeon in Germany who declined to separate the Iranian twins joined at the head said yesterday he was stunned that the operation had been attempted and saddened by their deaths.

Mr Madjid Samii, who is president of the International Neuroscience Institute in Hanover, said he had reluctantly turned down the request made by Laleh and Ladan Bijani.

He had decided after a month of examinations in 1988 that a shared vein that drained blood from their brain to their hearts meant the sisters' chances of survival were almost nil.

"I was very surprised when I heard the operation was going forward," he said. "There have been medical advances, but the problem then was the same as now. There is only one vein."

Another team of German doctors at University Hospital in Heidelberg also turned the Bijanis away in 1997, a hospital spokeswoman said.- (Reuters)

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