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As their bodies have grown, Saba and Fahar Shakeel have suffered severe joint pain, blinding headaches and the humiliation of increasingly slurred speech.
Their father, Mohammed, a Muslim who works on a tea stall in the eastern city of Patna, decided that he could not take the risk of losing either daughter, even though doctors warned they might live for only another 10 to 15 years.
But yesterday he said that their lives were already unbearable and that without government help to ease their pain, they should be allowed to end their suffering.
Mr Shakeel, who supports his family of eight on £65 a month, cannot afford further treatment. Doctors have told the family that the dependence of both twins on Farah’s kidneys would cause high blood pressure, rapid weight loss and weakness.
“The girls want to live and enjoy life as others do but when they are in pain, they cry and ask for help,” said Mr Shakeel. “All we want is either the government should come and help us treat them or allow them to die, because they are in a miserable condition.”
The twins’ elder brother, Tamana Ahmad Malik, said they were suffering excruciating pain for 15 hours a day. “In the last few months, they’ve suffered continuous headache and body pain,” he said. “They have difficulty in speaking and their limbs have become twisted.”
(He's their brother).
Four years ago, leading American neurosurgeon Dr Benjamin Carson from Jonhs Hopkins Children's Centre in Baltimore, US, had come to examine them at a Delhi hospital and expressed the hope to successfully separate them through surgery after an offer by the Abu Dhabi prince. 'We did not opt for operation then because of the risk to their lives. But my parents cannot see their condition anymore and are too poor to afford the cost of their treatment,' Tamanna said.
The world's oldest living conjoined twins have defied doctors' predictions and reached their 50th birthday. George and Lori Schappell, who are joined at the head, celebrate their special day Sunday. And the pair is marking the landmark birthday with a trip to London. Remarkably, the twins are able to live very different and separate lives, with Lori having had relationships and George, who was born Dori and later changed her name to Reba — deciding to live life as a man. "When we were born, the doctors didn't think we'd make 30, but we proved them wrong,” Lori said. "We have learned so much in the last 50 years and will continue living life to the full."