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October 13th, 2003

Conjoined Twins

After hearing of the successful separation of twins conjoined at the head, I got to wondering what the survival odds are for separation operations and how it varies depending on what body part is attached.

To start, 40-60% of conjoined twins are stillborn. 35% survive less than a day. According to this random web site, the overall chance of survival after an attempt at separation is around 46%, but that varies depending on where the twins are joined. The Iranian twins that were connected at the head died, but were initially given a 50% chance of survival. Last year, doctors decided not to operate on a pair of twins twins with a conjoined heart because it would be “virtually impossible.” The twins died a few weeks later.

Beyond that, I really couldn’t find any hard numbers about chances of survival, other than that the chance greater if you wait until at least a few weeks after birth.

Posted in In the News

FROM: jethrow
DATE: Monday October 13, 2003 -- 9:36:32 pm
interesting how there are so many countries that hate the United States so much, but when some foreigner needs help, The United States is the first place they turn to.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday October 14, 2003 -- 7:16:45 am
C'mon now... do people really think like that?

Entire countries don't hate the United States. Visible and vocal people representatives do. These families that look to the United States for help are just like you and me, parents that want the best for their children and need some help for their unique and rare problem.

"Some foreigner." Man, I hate that phrase.

FROM: Ace High
DATE: Friday October 17, 2003 -- 4:56:58 pm
With such a high fatality rate for separation. I don't see how this operation could be justified ethicaly unless there was a greater chance of death if the twins stayed togather. The most impotant part of a physician's oath are the words "do no harm".

What is this then?

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