In October 1988 in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, a team of about 70 doctors and nurses operated on the tiny bodies of twins for 12 hours. It was a separation surgery for conjoined twins Viet and Duc Nguyen who shared lower halves of their bodies. It is thought that the defoliant Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War, was the cause.
Surgeries performed with equipment and medicine provided by Japan somehow miraculously succeeded. Viet was bedridden after the surgery but Duc managed to make a steady recovery. The Japanese provided Duc with a prosthetic leg to make up for the left leg he had lost. After that, he visited Japan many times and his visits were reported frequently. He was taken in by the hospital with his family, went to school while helping to care for his brother. Enthusiastic about computers and soccer as a boy, he eventually worked in a hospital in adulthood and married a woman he met through volunteering work.
His brother passed away at the age of 26. A friend heard him break into tears on the phone after standing at his brother’s deathbed. Two years later, he decided to have children despite being told by the doctor that the disability may be inherited. Perhaps he wanted to pass on a part of him that he had shared with his brother Viet’s who had given his life for him. Coincidence or not, he was blessed with twins like Viet and himself.
Earlier March, he had the chance to meet the Emperor and Empress of Japan during their visit to Vietnam. We have watched him since he was a little boy, growing up to become a teenager and to a man old enough to be called “Mr. Duc Nguyen.” He is now 36 years old.
This month, he will be appointed a visiting professor at Hiroshima International University in Hiroshima Prefecture. When he gave a speech in Higashi Hiroshima City October last year, he had told the university of his wish to work in Japan and it has now become a reality. He will be lecturing the importance of life based on his experiences. From now on, we will call him “Professor” Nguyen.
(Click here to read the original article in Japanese)