Parents Decide Not to Separate Conjoined Twins

They share a heart, and surgery would be dangerous

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 25, 2014 2:41 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Andrew Donovan Lee and twin brother Garrett Lee Donovan Stancombe are only 2 weeks old, but they've already defied some pretty big odds, reports WTAE. The brothers are conjoined twins connected from the breastbone to the waist. Doctors in Indiana, Pa., weren't sure the brothers would make it, but they were healthy enough to go home four days later. Parents Michelle Van Horne and Kody Stancombe have decided not to separate the brothers because they don't want to risk losing one or both in surgery.

"We've discussed it and we see the best is to keep them together," says mom. "They were born together, they can stay together." The twins share a heart, which would make surgery especially difficult, notes CNN. And even without surgery, it's not clear what their life expectancy is. "They could be with us here tomorrow and gone the next second," Van Horne tells CBS Pittsburgh. "A month down they could be gone. They could turn into teenagers. We don’t know and that’s the difficulty." (Last month, a very rare set of conjoined twins were born.)

The newborn brothers.
The newborn brothers.   (WTAE screen shot)
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Video about the twins.   (WPXI)

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