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United in thought, action and ailment

They may not be joined at the hip, but 23-year-old twins Hassana and Hussaina Saidu not only fall ill at the same time but have also undergone two surgeries together. Sanchita Sharma reports.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2008 02:52 IST
Sanchita Sharma

They may not be joined at the hip, but 23-year-old twins Hassana and Hussaina Saidu have more in common than other identical twins who, like them, look alike, dress alike and complete each other’s sentences.

What makes their story stranger than fiction is the fact that the two not only fall ill at the same time but have also undergone two surgeries together. The Saidu twins from Nigeria underwent surgery for toxic nodular goitre on the same day at Apollo Hospital last week and had an emergency surgery for appendicitis within weeks of each other, two years back.

The twins are now recovering in a private room with an added bed because they wanted to be together. “We usually fall ill together because we eat the same food and have very similar lifestyles and our family is used to it. But the need for two surgeries at the same time surprised everyone,” say Hassana and Hussaina. With both speaking for each other, it’s difficult to attribute a quote to either. The twins are two of 13 siblings and are in India with their mom for treatment.

Toxic nodular goitre occurs when the thyroid gland becomes overactive and causes rounded masses called nodules in the neck. “These nodules usually occur in women over 60. The fact that both developed such large nodules at such a young age is rare,” says Dr Arun Prasad, their surgeon at Apollo.

Though the doctors wanted the surgeries a day apart, the twins insisted they get operated upon the same day. “I’ve never seen two people with identical physiology. It is eerie. The second surgery went much faster because I knew exactly which structure lay where,” says Prasad.