herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

We almost lost our little fighter Hussein – mum

SCARE: Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf with their twin sons Hassan and Hussein.
SCARE: Angie and Azzedine Benhaffaf with their twin sons Hassan and Hussein.
The twins, who will be four in December

THE mother of the formerly conjoined Benhaffaf twins has revealed how she thought she was going to lose one of them just a few weeks ago.

For the first time since 'little fighters' Hussein and Hassan were separated three years ago one of them fell seriously ill.

Their mum, Angie Benhaffaf, admitted yesterday that she feared for Hussein's life.

She spoke as she was forced to cancel the boys' annual visit to the Irish national twins festival today.

Little Hussein, the strongest of the twins, suddenly took ill in July at his home in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork.

 

RISK

Angie said: "He was in severe pain. I asked him to show where it hurt and he lifted his top and I could see his stomach had swelled considerably.

"We immediately knew that there was something very wrong. It was the first time since the twins were separated that I feared for Hussein's life and I'm not even sure how I got through the ordeal.

"We were very scared. I thought I was going to lose him."

The child was taken to Cork University Hospital before being airlifted to Crumlin Children's Hospital in Dublin.

There, Angie and husband Azzedine were told Hussein was a "high risk" case. He was then transferred to Great Ormonde Street Hospital in London for surgery by Dr Edward Kiely, the same surgeon who separated the twins.

All six of the family, including Hassan and daughters Malika and Iman, spent 12 days at Great Ormonde Street.

Angie said: "We have been in this as a family from day one and we are always going to go through it together step by step no matter what obstacles come up."

"Hussein is fighting another battle now. He is back home and is making a great recovery."

But the family are skipping the national twins festival in Keash, Co Sligo, which they have attended for the past two years and of which Angie is patron.

"We have made so many friends at that festival and the children love going to it.

"But although Hussein is making a great recovery, he is not ready to travel a long distance yet. But we will all be back at the festival next year," she said.

Angie said when Hussein took ill she was stunned because he had not been sick since the separation.

She added: "Hassan has surgery on his spine every six months and that will go on until he is 18. But we didn't even think Hussein would get sick.

"Hassan had his last spine operation four weeks before Hussein was taken ill so I have had quite a busy time."

The twins, who will be four in December, were separated during a marathon 14-hour operation in April 2010.

hnews@herald.ie

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