It is 11.20am on Tuesday, and anxiety hangs in the air in a ward at Mount Elizabeth Hospital. But it does not touch three-year-old Ton Nu Hoang Dung, who continues to be chatty and jump around, oblivious to the fact that in 30 minutes, she will have an 11-hour surgery to reconstruct her skull and facial features.
Her parents are unusually quiet. Madam Hoang Thi Thuy Linh is unsure if her child is strong enough to undergo the complex operation. First, neurosurgeon Keith Goh, who was one of those who separated conjoined Nepalese twins Ganga and Jamuna Shrestha in 2001, will repair the part of Hoang Dung's brain which is protruding from her skull down into the nasal region between the eyes. Then he will reconstruct her malformed skull.