Conjoined twins, just over two months old, die in Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:15pm EDT

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PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Conjoined twin boys in Pennsylvania whose parents opted not to separate them have died at just over 2 months old, authorities said on Wednesday.

Garrett and Andrew Stancombe of Indiana, Pennsylvania, were born on April 10 conjoined at the torso and sharing a heart and liver.

They were released from the hospital when they were 4 days old and died at home, about 60 miles (97 km) east of Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, according to the Indiana County Coroner.

"They courageously battled the obstacles associated with living as conjoined twins," read their obituary published on Wednesday in the Indiana Gazette.

Their parents, Michelle Van Horne and Kody Stancombe, said publicly they decided against separating the twins due to the serious risks of surgery.

The babies had been receiving in-home hospice care, the coroner said. A funeral was scheduled for Thursday.

According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, conjoined twins rarely survive. Most are stillborn or die shortly after birth, it said.

While surgery may be performed to separate them, it is risky depending upon where they are joined and whether they share internal organs.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Daley; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Eric Beech)

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