Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Four-year-old twins Rosie and Ruby Formosa, who were born conjoined and with a slim chance of survival, are counting the days until their first day of school. “Before the twins were born, we weren’t even sure how far they’d get, but we soon learnt that…

Twins Rosie (left) and Ruby Formosa, who were born joined at the abdomen and sharing part of their intestines, are due to start school next week. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Four-year-old twins Rosie and Ruby Formosa, who were born conjoined and with a slim chance of survival, are counting the days until their first day of school.

“Before the twins were born, we weren’t even sure how far they’d get, but we soon learnt that they are fighters. Now here they are, getting ready to go to school,” the twins’ Maltese father, Daniel Formosa, told this newspaper yesterday. He lives in Bexleyheath, Kent, with his wife, Angela, the twins and nine-year-old daughter, Lily.

The proud father said both he and his wife were thrilled that the girls had not only survived but were getting on with their lives – just like any other children their age.

Rosie and Ruby were born joined at the abdomen in 2012, sharing part of their intestine, with news of their birth making headlines in the UK. They were operated upon at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London the day after their birth.

Despite the girls’ early problems, Mr Formosa said that Ruby and Rosie had grown to be bright girls who were full of energy.

Their mother found out the twins were joined when she was between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant. The twins were then delivered at University College Hospital at 34 weeks.

Within a couple of hours, they were taken to Great Ormond Street, one of the most expert centres in the world for the treatment of conjoined twins.

While the parents were happy that the twins would be sitting behind desks come Monday, Mr Formosa admitted that seeing the girls off would surely spark some emotions.

“The house is going to be very empty without the two of them running around all day,” Mr Formosa said. Asked how he felt they would fare at school, Mr Formosa said this was not an issue, since they would be attending the same school as their older sister and would share a classroom.

The incidence of conjoined twins is very rare, happening only once in every 50,000 live births, but Malta is no stranger to the phenomenon.

In 2000, another set of conjoined twins – Gracie and Rosie – were born to Rina and Michael­angelo Attard of Xagħra.

A 20-strong medical team spent 15 hours operating on the twins. Rosie died the next day. In 2010, this newspaper reported that Gracie had grown into a bright,10-year-old young lady.