After all the devastating news of the past week regarding children, it’s always wonderful to hear about something positive happening. In fact, this news is doubly great: it involves twins! Conjoined twins, actually, who have made their debut as separated and healthy just in time for the holidays.
Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker, a 9-month-old set of conjoined twins from Adams, NY, were successfully separated last month on November 7 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Having been previously connected at the lower chest and abdomen, the twins shared their chest wall, diaphragm, liver and pericardium (the membrane around the heart). Fortunately, the now physically independent babies seem “alert and happy.”
According to doctors, “they’re both fighters,” and have done extremely well post-surgery, with Allison having been discharged already and Amelia expected to be released sometime after the new year.
“We totally expect them to have full, independent lives,” said Dr. Holly Hedrick, a pediatric surgeon speaking at a press conference.
Their parents, Shellie and Greg Tucker, are overjoyed, having been very anxious about the surgery but thinking that it “wouldn’t be fair to not give them a chance” at separation. While this is an extremely happy ending, I was a little saddened to read Shellie’s recollection of finding out about her twins’ condition.
“[The doctor] said, ‘You’re having twins,’ and my heart dropped. And then she said, ‘I think they’re connected,’ and my heart dropped again… Their recommendation was to terminate.”
Now, while I am fully, 100% in favor of a woman’s right to choose, I am not quite so much a fan of doctors recommending that choice. When you’re in a position where you have already decided to follow throw with a pregnancy and you find out that your child (or children) could have a serious medical condition, it’s entirely up to you as parents to decide what to do. But when a trusted professional tells you what you should do with regard to your family or planned family, I don’t think it’s very appropriate nor respectful. Of course, if she asked for this recommendation, then just ignore this little paragraph altogether.
In any case, I am excited for the Tucker family, particularly these twins, and am thrilled that their surgery was so successful when several years ago, it would not be possible (or at least not as likely to work). Go modern science!
Photos: ABC News