Joined Twins' Dad May Be Delayed
Aug. 26, 2002
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DALLAS (AP) _ The father of 1-year-old Egyptian conjoined twins awaiting separation surgery could face delays in traveling to the United States because of new immigration rules imposed after Sept. 11, officials say.
Ibrahim Mohammed Ibrahim is scheduled to apply for a visa with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 2. If approved, the visa would normally take up to three weeks to be issued.
But young foreign men hoping to travel to the United States now must get their visa applications approved in Washington D.C. _ and 30-year-old Ibrahim falls in that category.
That could hold up his arrival for a long time, said officials at the Dallas-based World Craniofacial Foundation, which brought the twins to the United States.
The issue is pressing because doctors at the North Texas Hospital for Children won't go ahead with the surgery on Mohamad and Ahmed Ibrahim until they meet the father in person.
Ibrahim has said he supports the surgery. But specialists led by foundation founder Kenneth Sayler insist he be fully informed of the risks before they operate, said foundation director Sue Blackwood.
``It's vital that the father be here,'' Blackwood said. ``Dr. Salyer said he won't do anything until he can speak to the father eyeball to eyeball.''
Mohamed and Ahmed Ibrahim were born June 2, 2001, by Caesarean section in a remote village in Egypt. They arrived in Dallas in June.
Tests show that the boys' attachment at the crown of their heads is extensive and includes the connection of blood vessels. Each has part of his own brain, but separating them could cause one or both to die.
Religious considerations in predominantly Muslim Egypt made the issue of separating the twins controversial.
But Egypt's top government-appointed cleric gave written approval for separation as long as doctors believed at least one twin would survive and the surgery wasn't experimental.
The foundation is paying for the twins' trip and hospital stay.
On the Net:
World Craniofacial Foundation: http://www.worldcf.org