Identical twins, Herzl and Balfour Hakak were born in Baghdad, Iraq, when Israel was founded, and have never been separated. After immigrating to Israel they’ve continued to live in the same city, Jerusalem and spend most of their time together, they are very close.

A few days ago, Balfour felt unwell and though something was wrong with his heart, he discovered he had an atrial fibrillation for which he needed care from the cardiac ICU at Shaare Zedek. His brother Herzl was by his side during his treatment, but a few days after Balfour was hospitalised, Herzl started to feel unwell.

He rushed to the Emergency Department at Shaare Zedek suffering with a heart attack due to a blockage in one of his arteries. A day later he underwent catheterization at Shaare Zedek, in the same ward his brother was in.

Now, both twins are in the same ward, and recovering together. To avoid mix-ups, the nurses have hung signs above the twins bed. Speaking about their experiences, the twins shared, “We call it twin symbiosis. This is not the first time we are experiencing something like this. Apparently the stress that one of us is sick affects the other. Many times, we experience similar things without realizing it.”

Dr. Louay Taha, a senior doctor in the cardiac ICU at Shaare Zedek, treated the twins. He described: “We admitted twins to the cardiac ICU. One of them had a heart disturbance and insufficiency, and the other arrived two days later, after a heart attack. There are reports in literature that twins are similar in cardiovascular issues. Their condition is excellent and they will be released soon.”