A conjoined twin separated from his brother as a baby has undergone more life-saving surgery – which his parents feared he would not survive.
Hussein and Hassan Benhaffaf were born conjoined from chest to pelvis in December 2009 and were given just a 98 per cent chance of survival.
The adorable pair had their liver, bladder, gut and intestine divided when they were just five months old in a marathon 14-hour operation.
But little Hussein, now aged three, was forced to undergo emergency surgery again last month to repair suspected unhealed wounds from his first op.
The little fighter pulled through and is now recovering at home.
Mum Angie, 40, said: “It was the first time since the twins were separated that I feared for Hussein’s life and I’m not even sure how I got through the ordeal.
“We were very scared. I thought I was going to lose him.”
Little Hussein – the strongest of the twins – suddenly fell ill with a swollen tummy at his home in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, Ireland, in July.
He was taken to hospital where Angie and husband Azzedine were told he was a “high risk” case and he was airlifted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Hussein underwent emergency surgery to repair an incisional hernia, believed to have been caused by wounds from the first operation not fully healing.
His whole family – including twin Hassan, and sisters Malika, nine, and Iman, six – kept a bedside vigil for 12 days.
Angie said: “We have been in this as a family from day one and we are always going to go through it together step by step no matter what obstacles come up.
“What happened was that Hussein suffered damage to some internal work done on both boys at the time of separation.
“He was in severe pain. I asked him to show where it hurt and he lifted his top and I could see his stomach had swelled considerably.
“He underwent emergency surgery on his abdomen to repair the work done internally and which had since come undone.
“Hussein is fighting another battle now.
“He is back home and is making a great recovery. He is doing so well.”
It is the third time Hussein has had an operation – while brother Hassan has to have an operation every six months to correct his scoliosis, curvature of the spine.