Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim are twin two-year-old boys. They were joined at the head at birth. On October 12th, 2003, they were successfully separated after a twenty-six hour operation at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. "Ahmed and Mohammed are now within striking distance of living independent lives," said Dr. Jim Thomas, attending physician, one of sixty doctors involved in the case.
Untangling the mass of blood vessels that connected the boys was the most difficult part of the operation. Doctors transplanted skin to cover wounds in the boys’ heads. Custom-designed medical equipment provided by a Texas manufacturer contributed much to the success of the procedure. But more operations will be required before the boys are fully healed. Dr. Thomas said the condition of the boys remains critical:
"They are not out of the woods [out of danger] by any stretch of the imagination. They are finishing one stage of a journey, if you will, and they're about to enter a new landscape, which is different. . .in some ways uncharted and fraught with potential problems."
For Ahmed and Mohammed, it has been a long journey from their home, the village of Qoos [koohs] near Luxor, Egypt. In June 2002, they were brought to the U.S. for treatment sponsored by the World Craniofacial Foundation, a Dallas-based charity that assists children in obtaining life-saving cranio-facial surgery. They were accompanied by three pediatric physicians from the University of Cairo and two pediatric nurses. The boys' father, Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim, came to the U.S. later that year to be with the boys, while his wife remained in Egypt to look after their other two children.
The U.S. has long been a leader in medical science and technology of the kind that made Ahmed and Mohammed's separation possible. And through the generosity of many charitable contributors, Americans are happy to share with the world the promise of medical miracles.