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Separated Twins Face Complex, Lengthy Recuperation

October 05, 1987|Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Twins born joined at the back of their heads could remain hospitalized for up to six months as doctors deal with post-operative care as complicated as the surgery that separated them, it was reported Sunday.

The twins suffered some brain damage during the surgery, doctors said.

Since the 22-hour operation that parted the twins, 8-month-old Patrick and Benjamin Binder have been besieged with complications, said Dr. Benjamin Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon.

"Some days it looks like you can see the clearing, but some days it looks like you're deep in the woods," said Carson, who performed the delicate separation of their scalps, skulls and veins Sept. 6 at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Since then, the boys from Ulm, West Germany, have made repeated trips to surgery--at least nine times between them--for skin grafts, cleaning of their wounds, insertion of new intravenous feeding tubes and draining of excess spinal fluid that their separate bodies now have difficulty absorbing naturally.

"Doctors say it will not be unexpected for one or both of the twins to return to the operating room for repeated cleansings of their scalp wounds," the hospital said.

"The twins have had wound breakdown, problems with lungs, kidneys, liver, problems with everything," Carson said. He also cited digestive difficulties, decreased blood platelet counts and the continuing battle to prevent ever-present bacteria from causing a life-threatening infection.

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