6-November-2000 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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CONJOINED TWINS, JODIE AND MARY, SEPARATED

LONDON, Nov. 6, 00 (CWNews.com) - Surgeons in Manchester this morning began the complex operation to separate conjoined twins Jodie and Mary after last minute appeals from pro-lifers failed in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

The procedure will take up to 15 hours and will inevitably lead to the death of Mary, the weakest twin, but will improve Jodie's chances of survival. A spokesman for the hospital said, "We can confirm the operation is taking place today. This complex operation is expected to last approximately 15 hours and involves a team of up to 20 staff. At this time our thoughts are with the family and the surgical team."

The most difficult part of the surgery is likely to be the separation of the fused spinal cords. Before this can begin, the blood supply from Jodie to Mary will be cut off and Mary will die.

On Friday, the Prolife Alliance failed in two attempts to halt the operation. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal rejected an application to have the official solicitor, Laurence Oates, removed as Mary's legal guardian and replaced by the Alliance's director, Bruno Quintavalle.

Josephine Quintavalle, a spokesman for the Prolife Alliance told The Times newspaper, "There have been many tears already. I feel devastated every time I think about it."

It has been reported that the twins' parents have agreed to a 125,000 British pound deal with Granada Television to appear on the "Tonight" program. The money they receive for the interview is expected to be put into a trust to pay for Jodie's medical care once she has been separated from her twin.

Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning, has criticized the move. He told the Daily Telegraph, "Questions need to be asked about the actions and motivations of some who have, for whatever reason, turned this tragedy into a cause celebre."



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