Conjoined Twins Are Sometimes a Good Thing

Conjoined Twins

A mother gave birth to conjoined twins recently, and will be released from Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. Jenni Ezell says her family is relieved and overjoyed. The health complications with conjoined twins can sometimes be fatal, and it is a distressing ordeal for many families. However, not everyone finds this condition to be a negative event, as some consider being a conjoined twin a good thing.

Owen and Emmitt are the two boys who were conjoined at their breastbone, and all the way to their hipbones, sharing several organs. Their liver and intestines were functioning for both infants. If the boys were not surgically separated, their doctor said they would not survive. The surgery is said to have taken nine hours, with the most difficulty when separating the blood vessels in the liver.

In India there are two boys who have been conjoined for 12 years, however, they claim they are divine incarnation and never wish to be separated. These boys share only one set of legs, but four arms as they are joined at the hip and abdomen, appearing to part at the lower spine. One of the brothers, Shivram, says they do not wish to be separated because they want to stay together even when they are old.

He elaborated, “We want to live as we are.” Shivram and his brother, Shivnath, posed for many photographs, in one, they manage to descend a stairwell with their single book-bag as one of the brothers lie on his back-side. To them, being conjoined twins is a good thing, but sometimes, there are difficulties.

The local doctor says they cannot be separated even if they wished to be. Their stomach is shared, and although they have their own lungs, hearts, and brains, the surgery is assumed to be a great risk. Their father says that many people find enjoyment or fun in watching the twins, but he knows the trouble they endure. This is the reason he forbids them from leaving the village.

Conjoined twins are thought to occur one in every 50,000 to 200,000 births.

In 2012, there was a report on conjoined twins (or a girl with two heads), but two personalities. Abby and Brittany Hensel were born with a very slim chance of surviving the night following their birth. They were born in 1990 and even made it to college. The uniqueness of this particular case relates to the degree their bodies were conjoined. Though they appeared to be one person with two heads, Abby and Brittany had two sets of lungs, two separate brains and two hearts.

The girls made it to moderate fame as their reality show was aired on TLC.

One of the earliest documented cases of conjoined twins involved two girls named Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, born in England in 1100. The girls were merged at the hip, and said to have been wealthy. When the girls passed, they left a modest fortune to the Church of England.

The University of Maryland Medical System say conjoined twins are extremely rare and often do not survive. Between 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn, while 35 percent survive only 24 hours. It is said that female twins have better odds of survival. Though hardships are always there for conjoined twins, sometimes it could be a rather good thing.

By Lindsey Alexander

ABC News

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