Conjoined twin girls who were abandoned by their parents because they could not afford their care have been given new hope of surgery and returning home to their family.
Veena and Vani, eight, were born joined at the head, but their parents left them in their local hospital in Hyderabad, India because they could not pay their medical expenses.
For eight years the girls have ate, played and slept in one room at Niloufer Hospital and have been cared for by nursing staff.
New hope: Veena and Vani, eight, have been living in Niloufer Hospital, Hyderabad, India, for the last eight years because their parents were unable to pay for their care
Hopes: The girls, eight, want to be separated by their parents have been reluctant to allow an operation because of the risk both may not survive
But now their parents, Maragana Murali, 45, and wife Naga Laxmi, 40, have finally given their consent for them to undergo an operation to be separated.
Naga said: 'I've found it too hard to let doctors operate on my girls any earlier because they couldn't give me any guarantees they would survive.
'They were healthy, happy and intelligent girls. I couldn't sit back and play with their future and risk losing one.
'But now they're getting older I realise they can't go on as they are. I'm just praying they survive and they can come home to us.'
Risks: Parents Maragana Murali, 45, and wife Naga Laxmi, 40, pictured with their other two daughters Bindhu, 11, and Sindhu, nine, have now agreed their twins can undergo surgery
Naga Laxmi was unconscious when her daughters were born in October 2003.
It was 15 days before she finally saw that her girls were joined at the head. She remembers breaking down in tears, devastated.
'For many months I couldn't stop crying,' she said.
'What had I done wrong? My insides were breaking into little pieces every time I thought of them.
'We didn't want to leave our girls behind, but we had no choice.
'We barely had enough money to keep a roof over our heads never mind care and pay for all their medical bills. Our only hope was that the hospital would save them.'
When doctors admitted an operation to separate the twins could not guarantee the survival of both girls, their parents halted the procedure.
Home: The girls have been leaving in a room at Niloufer Hospital, Hyderabad, for the last eight years
Veena and Vani continued to stay in the hospital and they would visit them as often as they could as they raised their other daughters Bindhu, 11, and Sindhu, nine.
Their parents would save up money to go and visit their daughters, costing them 2,000 Rupees each time.
But Naga would stay at the hospital for three days because she found it hard to leave them again.
'I sometimes find myself sobbing as I make the dinner or wash the floor.
'I still cry at unexpected times because of what my famil is going through. For years it was easier to just live as we were, it was too hard to commit to a decision.'
Earlier this year, Niloufer Hospital officials invited the parents for a meeting and they made the decision to risk an operation.
Operation: Doctors at the hospital are now hoping to get an international surgeon with neurosurgery expertise to separate the twins
Dr Narendra Kumar, a paediatric surgeon, is trying to find an international surgeon who specialises in neurology to perform the operation.
He said: 'It has always been possible to operate on the girls because they both have individual brains.
'The problem lies with the one main blood vessel they share so it does have its risks.'
The girls have built up a close friendship with Dr Kumar. Vani dreams of becoming an engineer and Veena wants to be a doctor.
Dr Kumar added: 'We don't have any neurologists at this hospital so we have to look elsewhere.
'The girls dream of being separated so we hope their wish will come true soon.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-20...l#ixzz1lu9C0ITf