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Conjoined twin boys refuse to be separated

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According to the Huffington Post on April 10, twelve-year old conjoined twins could be separated, but they prefer staying attached. Shivanath Sahu and his twin brother Shivram have been attached since birth, and that's the way they want to stay for the rest of their lives even though some doctors believe they could be successfully separated.

The two boys were born joined at the waist. Between the two of them, they have only two legs and four arms and are believed to share the same stomach. They have their own lungs, hearts and brains. If the operation ever takes place, the legs would probably go to Shivram, while Shivanath would be left a paraplegic with no legs at all.

Shivram has told his father and doctors, "We don't wish to get separated. We will stay like this even when we grow old. We want to live as we are." Even though the twins have serious disabilities, they have managed to live as normal a life as they can. They help each other to take a shower, dress and comb each other's hair. Shivram and Shivanath have also managed to get around their tiny India village on their own. The other brother, Shivanath, said they have taught themselves to do everything together. In fact, he said they ride to school on a bicycle and play cricket without any problem.

Their father, Raj Kumar, 45, says they are also excellent students. Even so, he believes that despite their positive attitudes, his boys still have many challenges. For instance, it is difficult for them to walk when it rains. When one sits, the other twin has to lie down. The boys don't fight each other. They have similar opinions, and when one wants to do something, the other one agrees. The father concludes that if the twins want to stay attached, then that's the way it will be.

Dr. Krishan Chugh, a pediatrician at Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, India, studied photos of the twins and is convinced that separation is possible. However, he understands why the twins and their father might not want the operation now, but things may change when the boys get older.

Conjoined twins occur in about one in 200,000 births. About half of them are stillborn. Many conjoined twins have been successfully separated and live independently in many countries around the world.

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