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Siamese Twins Flown to Philadelphia for Treatment

August 15, 1985

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ Siamese twins born 11 weeks premature with underdeveloped lungs, shared kidneys and possibly a heart between them have been flown to a Philadelphia hospital for treatment, officials say.

The twins were born Wednesday to a 29-year-old Roanoke woman and doctors performing the Caesarean section didn’t know until the operation began that the babies were joined, said Dr. Hugh Wells, a neonatal specialist.

″When we opened her up, we discovered she had conjoined twins,″ said Dr. Maximo Cuesta, assistant chief of obsterics and gynecology education. ″We did the Caesarean section because she had fetal distress.″

The mother was doing well and her vital signs were normal, he said.

″It’s a shock to have a premature baby. And it’s an even greater shock to have Siamese twins,″ Wells said. ″It’s a rare event.″

The twins, weighing about 21/4 pounds each, were joined from just below the neck to just below the navel, as in about 75 percent of Siamese twins, he said. They shared kidneys and possibly a heart and had underdeveloped lungs.

Wells, of Roanoke Memorial Hospital, said he knew of no cases in which Siamese twins with one heart survived.

They were flown late Wednesday with a neonatal team to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, which has more experience than any in the country dealing with Siamese twins, said Roanoke hospital spokesman Vance Whitfield.

At the request of the parents, the identity of the mother and her twins are being withheld by hospital officials.

Siamese twins occur in seven out of about 400,000 births, Whitfield said.

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