Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Human Interest

Winter the dolphin greets former conjoined twins in Clearwater (watch)

Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf, conjoined twins from Ireland who have miraculously survived surgery to separate, visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Wednesday.

The twins met Winter, the amputee dolphin from Hassan and Hussein's favorite movie, Dolphin Tale, and receive prosthetic care from the same clinical team, Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, which works with Winter.

They were accompanied on the trip by their parents Angie and Azzedine and sisters Malika, 10 and Iman, 6.

Hassan and Hussein were born conjoined from the chest to pelvis and at 4 months old, underwent surgery to separate them. The boys have defied odds since inception — as only a very small number of conjoined twins make it to birth, and of those, most don't make it past the first 24 hours.

The twins, now 4-years-old, are nicknamed "Little Fighters." The boys were born in London at 34 weeks as they couldn't carry out the birth in Ireland. They shared a liver, stomach, bladder, chest, pelvis, and pericardium.

They were separated at London's Ormond Street Hospital during a 14-hour surgery. While the surgery was a success, it left the boys with just one leg and one kidney each.

Faced with numerous challenges including Hassan's diagnosis of scoliosis, which will require surgery every six months until he's 18, and daily medical appointments, the twins receive full-time care from their parents.

The trip was made possible by Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics and friends.

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