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Book on Iranian conjoined twin Laleh and Ladan published

TEHRAN, Oct. 20 (Mehr News Agency) - The book "The Pain of Alliance" is available in Iran's market to revive Iranian people's grief over death of Iranian conjoined twin sisters Laleh and Ladan upon receiving surgical separation in 2003.

The author Parinush Saniei dealt with the twin's 29-year life according to their scattered documents, notes, and letters.

The 252-page book had a print run of 2,000 copies released by the Ruzbehan Publications.

Joined at the head, Laleh and Ladan were born in Shiraz, the capital of southern Fars Province, to Dadollah Bijani and Maryam Safari, members of a farming family from Lohrasb.

The Bijani sisters were lost in hospital in 1979 after the doctors responsible for them fled back to the United States during the Islamic Revolution.

The Bijanis' parents did not find the sisters again until several years later in Karaj, where Dr. Alireza Safaian adopted them. Even though Dadollah Bijani won the custody against Safaian, the sisters chose to spend their childhood with Safaian.

They studied law for four years at the University of Tehran. They faced some difficulties because of their conjoined nature. Since they had to study together, they needed to choose a common career path.

Ladan wanted to be a lawyer, while Laleh wished to become a journalist; in the end, they settled on Ladan's choice.

For these and other reasons, they had wanted to be separated since they were children. Laleh hoped that she could then move to Tehran, the capital city of Iran, to study journalism, while her sister wished to continue with graduate studies in law and move to Shiraz.

In 1996, they traveled to Germany, trying to get doctors there to separate them. The German doctors, however, declined to operate, saying that the risk of separation surgery would be too high for both of them.

In November 2002, after meeting Dr. Keith Goh, a Singaporean neurosurgeon, Bijani sisters traveled to Singapore to undergo the controversial operation. Their decision to go ahead with the operation caused an international media blitz.

After seven months in the Southeast Asian country doing extensive psychiatric and legal evaluations, they went to the operating table on July 6, 2003 under the care of a large team of international specialists at Raffles Hospital composed of 28 surgeons and more than 100 support staff working in shifts.

The attempt to separate the twins turned out to be very difficult, because their brains not only shared a major vein (the superior sagittal sinus), but had fused together. The separation was achieved on July 8, 2003, but it was announced then that the twins were in critical condition, both having lost a large volume of blood due to complications of the operation.

The separation stage of the surgery completed at 13:30 (Singapore time, UTC +8), but there was significant blood loss during the blood vessel repairing process, and Ladan Bijani died at around 14:30 on the operating table; her sister Laleh died a short time afterwards at 16:00. The deaths were announced by the chairman of Rofflewaffle Hospital, Dr. Loo Choon Yong.

The sisters were buried in accordance to Shia Muslim traditions in separate tombs, side by side, in Lohrasb. The sisters willed their properties to blind and orphaned children.

... Payvand News - 10/20/06 ... --

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