Pennsylvania parents to keep twins conjoined

NEW YORK Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:40am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania couple has decided not to split their newborn conjoined twins, local news outlets said, citing the high risk of surgery for the boys.

Garrett and Andrew Stancombe were born healthy two weeks ago conjoined at the torso and sharing a heart and liver, the twins' mother Michelle Van Horne told Pittsburgh-CBS affiliate KDKA, and were released from their hospital four days later.

Van Horne and her husband Kody Stancombe decided against separating the twins due to the serious risks of surgery, Van Horne said to KDKA, but the boys' current condition is no guarantee of a long life.

"They could be with us here now, and in the next second be gone. A month down the road they could be gone. They could turn into teenagers," Van Horne told the CBS-affiliate. "We don't know and that's the difficulty."

Last Wednesday, another set of conjoined twins who were separated last August, were released from their Dallas, Texas hospital to a local inpatient rehabilitation center. Doctors think those boys could join their family at home as early as this summer.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Comments (3)
SeniorMoment wrote:
Their state’s social service agency should intervene. It is better for one of the boys to die now if transplants can’t meet his needs that for the conjoined twins to spend an unnatural life together and likely die of an overworked heart. The liver can be divided between the two boys, but not the heart. I can see potentially delaying surgery since newborns are so easily harmed, but even that might just make recovery less likely Newborns are very flexible among other things.

Apr 26, 2014 8:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:
This is horrible and I feel sorry for the parents. But they should separate them with the idea that they have a chance of saving at least one as a whole person for a longer potential life span. Otherwise, as they say, they will have to worry every minute that they will loose both. And they are severely, even terminally handicapped now.

It is cruel to keep them together. I’ve have read of two girls that managed to live together until their teens but don’t know what’s happened to them since. I think in the girls case – two heads shared one body. Perhaps girls can live with a second self of sorts because by biological imperative, they are “designed” to carry an infant. But I can’t imagine their patience or capacity for self abnegation will last forever. Their social life will put enormous strains on that patience. They don’t get out of bed in the morning in a good mood – so I read.

Boys aren’t so compatible as a rule and they may never make it through the early years? Whether it’s innate or by social conditioning, boys have to learn to be competitive. It could easily be explained as the result of hundreds of thousands of years of being the more aggressive half of the species by necessity. He was also expected to be more disposable than the female. Perhaps that is why, historically, men tended to subjugate women? He wanted to be sure he controlled the reasons for his, usually, earlier demise and his risks meant both halves had a chance at life at all. That’s my hunch anyway.

But they should do it quickly before either is too aware of the other or can remember the situation later in any detail. One could easily say a single boy was born with a blurry image and it’s the parents task to finish what nature failed to bring into focus correctly.

With one heart and one liver – they can never be two distinct boys. The Doctors have to decide which half is redundant.

Apr 26, 2014 9:17am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Doc62 wrote:
Condolences to the family. The liver could be split and a second heart could be transplanted. The risk of death is already great and the costs are prohibited. Sad story

Apr 26, 2014 12:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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