The great-grandmother of conjoined twins from Adams, N.Y., told news stations that her two great-granddaughters were “a miracle,” after doctors separated the infant girls during a complicated and lengthy surgery Wednesday.
The great-grandmother, Catherine Ambeau, spoke to Rochester, N.Y.’s WHEC-TV.
“I was just crying and I went out and told everybody in this place because everybody in this place knows about them,” Ambeau said of Allison and Amelia Tucker, the two girls. “These babies are here today. It's a miracle.”
The eight-month-old twins were joined at the chest wall, diaphragm, pericardium, and liver, making them “excellent candidates” for separation, Holly Hedrick, the procedure’s lead surgeon, said in a statement Wednesday night.
"We expect that, with this complex surgery behind them, Allison and Amelia will receive the care, therapy and support to allow them to live full, healthy and independent lives," Hedrick said from the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, where the twins have been under care since their birth. “Like all separations of conjoined twins, this was a very complex surgery, but it went very well and as expected,” she said.
Just 20 other procedures like this have previously been performed at the hospital.
This particular separation took seven hours and a team of approximately 40 staff members, according to the Associated Press. The group included physicians, surgeons, nurses, and a variety of other support staff.
The phenomenon occurs in females in three-quarters of the cases and most conjoined twins are stillborn.
The twins’ mother, Shellie Tucker, told reporters that her doctor had recommended she terminate the pregnancy. Now, the girls — who she told The New York Times have fiery personalities — will be able to lead normal lives.
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