Usually the birth of twins is a joyous occasion, but not this time. A baby in Indonesia has been born with two faces and two brains, but only one head, a result of his conjoined twin not developing properly in the womb.
Now two-months-old, Gilang Andika is due to fighting for survival, as a fatal condition known as hydrocephalus is causing fluid to build up on his brain. Local doctors say they are unable to give him the operation that will save his life, so his parents, Ernilasari and Mustafa, are hoping to find a solution elsewhere.
Despite having only one body, with two arms and two legs, Gilang is classed as a conjoined twin. His mother’s egg did not completely split in two, and consequently his undeveloped twin’s head and brain are attached to his. This is also known as craniofacial duplication or Diprosopus.
He is currently fed through a tube, and many children born with hydrocephalus suffer with long-term brain damage and a range of issues such as learning difficulties, speech and vision impairment, problems with memory, and epilepsy.
Doctors didn’t suspect any issues during his Ernilasari’s pregnancy, and his parents were unaware of his condition until he was born by Caesarean section. At the moment the family are at Awal Bros Hospital in Batam, but they hope to move to a hospital in Jakarta, where Gilang can receive life-saving surgery.
The highly risky operation will involve doctors removing one of Gilang’s faces and brains, along with part of his skull. However, Ernilasari and Mustafa currently do not have the funds.