Sunday, January 5, 2003

Ohio's conjoined sisters almost ready to go home

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Twin sisters joined at the chest and abdomen before having a 13-hour surgery on Aug. 30 to separate them are nearly ready to go home to Mansfield.

Jazmine and MaKayla Heaberlin remain in Children's Hospital. They were delivered by Caesarean section at Ohio State University Medical Center on April 24.

"They're doing really, really beautifully. Any time in the next couple of weeks, they're ready to go home," said Gail Besner, a pediatric surgeon at Children's and one of the leaders of the separation team.

The girls had shared a liver and the membrane that surrounds the heart, but had independent hearts close to each other. The liver can grow back when separated into lobes. Their chests have healed. They are fed through tubes in their stomachs and breathe through tubes in their windpipes.

Their mother, Trinda Kaminski, said the two are starting to seem like normal babies.

"I'll be doing cartwheels when they tell me I can take them home," Ms. Kaminski said.

Jazmine has grown to almost 14 pounds and MaKayla weighs more than 17.

Ms. Kaminski said the girls sleep in cribs apart from each other, but they reach out to each other and still sleep with their heads tilted toward their backs, which they did when they lived face-to-face.

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