On January 29, 2006, amidst the daily turmoil and uncertainty that is today's Baghdad, a young mother issued a plea to the world for help with her new born babies. The two little sisters were born conjoined and not given much chance of survival. But then a world leader, and a dedicated team of surgeons came to her aid and were determined not let these babies die.
The Gift of Separate Lives is the story of Conjoined Twins Fatima and Zahra and the fight to save and separate them. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah offered his personal assistance to the distraught mother in Baghdad, and following eleven months of care and planning, and an eighteen and a half hour surgery, a Saudi surgical team successfully separated Fatima and Zahra in December 2006.
The Gift of Separate Lives chronicles this incredible story from its earliest days in Baghdad's Sadr City to their eleven months of hospital care to readying them for surgery. The production team received "behind-the-scenes" access to the twins and hospital staff in the making of this documentary that also focuses on the hospital's seventeen-year history of separating conjoined twins.
Today 1 in every 14,000 births in Asia and Africa are conjoined, compared to 1 in 50,000 in the West. This program examines this disparity in the number of conjoined twins and the research now taking place to prevent such occurrences.
Produced in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Asia, and Europe, The Gift of Separate Lives follows the cases of current and former patients. To date, the program has performed 25 successful separation procedures on children from around the world. The successes achieved by the Saudi surgeons have made it one of the top surgical teams in the world for this type of surgery.
Produced by the EMMY award winning production teams of Producers International Media Inc., and Artas Productions of Amman, Jordan.