News National Bhutanese twins on their way to a full recovery
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Bhutanese twins on their way to a full recovery

The 15-month-old girls before surgery at the Royal Children's Hospital. Photo: RCH Creative Studio
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Formerly conjoined Bhutanese twins Nima and Dawa have begun physiotherapy and are on their way to a full recovery after undergoing a rare six-hour surgery to separate their bodies.

More than five days after an 18-member surgical team operated on the 15-month-old girls, Royal Children’s Hospital head of paediatric surgery Dr Joe Crameri is expecting their abdominal wounds to heal within 10 days.

“The girls are getting back to a more normal life so they’re back to eating and they’re starting to move around,” Dr Crameri told reporters on Thursday morning.

We’re very happy and especially mum is very happy and is continuing to smile”

The twins, who were connected at the torso and shared a liver, were flown from Bhutan to Melbourne with their mother in October.

The life-saving surgery was delayed for about four weeks due to concerns for their twins’ wellbeing.

Managing nurse Megan Collins said the twins were doing better than originally expected and were constantly wanting to be near one another.

“Dawa’s being a little bit more active … and a little bit more cheeky.”

Nima will often cry and “tell you to go away” when staff come into her ward but “when you warm to her, she’ll kind of wave”, Ms Collins said.

“They love it when they’re watching The Wiggles. They’ll do like little dance moves with their hands and what not so it’s really nice to see.”

Nurse co-ordinator Kellie Smith said the medical team caring for the children are “really enjoying getting to know them”.

“Their personalities are really shining through.”

The separation surgery was initially expected to last most of the day. Photo: RCH Creative Studio

She said the twins were placed in a single ward and were being nursed in one bed because they did not accept having separate rooms.

“We try and have them a little bit apart. They manage to sort of bum-shuffle back together and have their legs intertwined.

“They like their mother close too. They’re always looking for mum as well, so she’s never far away.”

She said the girls were often clapping, laughing and smiling.

Head of paediatric surgery Dr Crameri said he “would love” to ensure the twins are well enough to travel back home to Bhutan before Christmas.

“But the reality is they go back when they’re right to go back.

“We just need to see how they’re progressing and we need to work with the local people to know what’s the right resources for them to have here before they go home so that it could match the resources they can get at home.”