Egyptian Girl Who Had Two Heads Dies

An Egyptian baby girl, who underwent surgery to remove a second head that shared a blood vessel with her brain, died of a severe infection, her surgeon said Monday.

Manar Maged, who would have turned 2 on Thursday, died early Saturday, a few hours after being hospitalized with a high fever, said Dr. Naseif Hefnawi, director of Benha Neonatal Hospital.

Doctors found that Maged was suffering from an infection in her brain, pneumonia and heart trouble, Hefnawi said. Her condition deteriorated rapidly after she failed to respond to medication.

Maged was born March 30, 2004, with a rare birth defect called craniopagus parasiticus. The defect occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process, leaving an undeveloped conjoined twin in the womb.

The 14-hour separation surgery was performed 13 months ago in the Nile Delta town of Benha, 25 miles north of Cairo. It was the first of its kind in the Middle East.

After that surgery, Maged underwent five more operations to insert a valve to drain excess fluid from her brain, Hefnawi said. When she was admitted to the hospital a month ago with a fever, doctors decided to affix an external shunt, but she contracted an infection again.

There were 10 previous cases like Maged's throughout the world when she underwent surgery last year, but Maged was the only one to survive the procedure, doctors said at the time.

Maged appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show last year with her mother and doctors.