Patnaik, Pradhan condole demise of Kalia

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 26 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan condoled the untimely demise of Kalia, one of the craniopagus twins who were separated in 2017 in one of the most complex medical procedures in India.

Kalia succumbed to pneumonia and septicaemia at SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack on Wednesday. The mortal remains of Kalia were consigned to flames as per the tribal tradition at his native Malipada village under Phiringa police station area in Kandhamal district on Thursday.

The members of tribal communities, government officials, police, journalists and people from different communities were present in the cremation in Kandhamal, an official said.

In his condolence message through a twitter post, Patnaik wrote: 'It is disheartening to know that Kalia passed away despite all out efforts of doctors and best of treatments. Praying for peace of the departed soul. May god give strength to the bereaved family members in this difficult time.' At the same time, Patnaik also said he prays for the good health of Jaga, one of the surviving twins. Jaga continued to remain at SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack since their discharge from AIIMs, New Delhi in September, 2019. The chief minister had visited Jaga-Kalia at AIIMS, New Delhi after their surgeries in 2017.

Pradhan in a twitter post said: 'I am hurt to know the demise of Kalia. The boy could not survive despite all efforts of doctors. I express my condolence to his parents and family members.' Odisha's Health and Family Welfare Minister N K Das said the state government will make all possible efforts to ensure Jaga's good health. 'Jaga is now healthy and playing like any other child. The state government will do whatever is required to keep Jaga healthy,' he said.

Jaga's condition had improved rapidly after the surgeries while Kalia was found to be suffering from certain deficiencies since 2017, Das said, adding that the twins were brought to Cuttack by a team of doctors from AIIMS, New Delhi.

Kalia passed away at about 9.10 pm of Wednesday. He was critical over the last one week and put on ventilator support two days back, the SCB Medical College Hospital doctors said.

The twins were admitted to the hospital in September last year after their discharge from AIIMS,New Delhi where they had undergone two major medical procedures for the separation of their heads in 2017.

Born to Bhuyan Kanhar and Puspanjali Kanhar of Milipada in the Kandhamal district, the twins were suffering from a rare craniopagus disorder. They were admitted to AIIMS on July 13, 2017 with the help of the Odisha government.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 1 crore for treatment of the twins of which only Rs 21.85 lakh was spent during the surgeries at AIIMS, New Delhi, a health department official said.

The twins had undergone two marathon surgeries at AIIMS, New Delhi. The first phase of the surgery was performed on August 28, 2017 when the doctors created a venous bypass to separate the veins shared by the babies that return blood to the heart from the brain.

The final separation of the duo was performed by a team of around 30 specialists from the institute's neurosurgery, neuro-anaesthesia and plastic surgery departments on October 25.

The doctors said the Kandhamal twins suffered from a rare condition, afflicting one in 30 lakh children, of which 50 per cent die either at birth or within 24 hours.

However, in case of Kalia, he survived for over three years after surgeries, said Dr Bhubanananda Maharana, the emergency officer of SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack.

The successful surgery that separated the heads of the conjoined twins was featured in the 2020 edition of the Limca Book of Records as the first such operation in the country.