Newborn Conjoined Twins Present Parents With Difficult Choice
INSIDE EDITION spoke with Michelle Van Horne and Kody Stancombe about the difficult choice they face with their newborn conjoined twins.
A new mom fusses over her baby boys. They are twins who are locked in a permanent embrace.
Andrew and Garett were born conjoined, fused together from their chests to their waists. The boys each have two arms and two legs and most of their major organs are separate, but they share one heart and one liver.
The boys were born just three weeks ago at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Their parents, Michelle Van Horne and Kody Stancombe were faced with an impossible choice. The babies could be separated, but it was incredibly risky.
Dr. John Chan is the medical director of the intensive care nursery. He told INSIDE EDITION, “It would mean the possibility of sacrificing one with no guarantee of the other surviving anyway.”
Andrew would have died instantly and Garett would have needed a heart and liver transplant. The odds of his survival are very slim.
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Michelle told INSIDE EDITION, “We made the decision to not separate them at all, love them the way they are and keep them until it’s their time to go.”
The boys have an adoring big brother named Riley. He is clearly thrilled with his baby brothers.
But caring for conjoined twins is not easy. Changing diapers is a challenge with two pairs of legs getting in the way. The babies have healthy appetites but as they get bigger and stronger, their shared heart will be under a lot of strain.
Conjoined twins can grow up to live happy full lives.
Minnesota teenagers Abby and Brittany Hensel have their own reality show.
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon from Dayton, Ohio, are the world's oldest surviving conjoined twins. They are 63. But unlike the brothers in Pennsylvania, they each have a heart.
With the future uncertain, Michelle and Kody are living in the moment and grateful to have any time at all with their miracle babies.
Michelle said, “We don't know how long they have. To me, it’s a miracle every day waking up, hearing them cry, feeding them, holding them, loving them.”
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