Kolkata: One of them weighed less than a standard coffee mug. Her sister was barely 200 gms heavier. Given their medical condition, few were ready to believe that they would survive when the girls were born at the Command Hospital in Kolkata on April 4 this year. But survive they did, thanks to efforts by a dedicated team of doctors and paramedics. Paediatricians say that this is a rare success and few can recollect having seen or heard of twins achieving ‘intact survival’ after being born with such severe complications.
The twins were born to Gudia Singh, wife of Amrendra Kumar Singh, a sailor from INS Garuda -a naval air station near Kochi. Singh left his wife at home in Konnagar, Hooghly , for the delivery and returned to base. The twins suffered from a rare medical condition known as Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). At birth, the smaller baby weighed 639 grams and measured 29 cm. Her sister weighed 842 grams and was a cm taller.
“The survival rate of such low weight babies is low. They were born in the sixth month and their problems were compounded due to their medical conditions. Feeding them was a major problem. Every passing day was fraught with uncertainty since such babies can develop infections very easily and they don’t have the immunity to fight and survive,” said Col Amit Devgan, head of department of paediatrics and leader of the team.
According to neonatologist Lt Col Subhash Chandra Shaw, this was the first time that an anaemic baby weighing just over a pound has survived without any handicap. He was extremely worried about the smaller baby as she had lesser body mass. The team was worried that the baby may develop medical issues like blindness or deafness.They are relieved that there is no indication of either and both are growing well. “The babies were born with respiratory disorder and required respiratory support for more than a month. They developed dangerously low levels of oxygen in their bodies at times, which necessitated oxygen dependency for two months,” Col Devgan added.