Conjoined Twins Who Share Heart Will Not Be Separated

Garrett and Andrea Stanhope
Garrett and Andrew Stancombe

This photo stuns me.

Imagine sharing a heart with another human being. Look at those sweet boys! Their little arms resting on each other’s shoulders.

And that’s the way they’ll remain. Forever. As Yahoo Shine reports, Garrett and Andrew Stancombe share a heart and liver. They’re conjoined from their chests to their bellies and will not be separated because surgery would be too risky. In fact, doctors didn’t think they’d even be born alive.

The boys face an uncertain future. But their parents, Kody Stancombe and Michelle Van Horne, knew they were conjoined from the first trimester of her pregnancy.

“They could be with us here tomorrow and gone the next second,” the twins’ mom, Michelle Van Horne tells CBS Pittsburgh. “A month down they could be gone. They could turn into teenagers. We don’t know and that’s the difficulty.”

Garrett and Andrew are already at home and mom says they’re doing great although feeding and dressing them is a challenge. “They’re breathing good. They’re crying. They’re doing everything a normal infant would do. That’s why we see them as our miracle babies,” she tells WPXI.

Conjoined twins account for one out of every 200,000 live births, according to the website of the University of Maryland Medical Center, which also notes 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins are stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day. Conjoined twins have an overall survival rate of 5 to 25 percent.

Van Horne remains positive in the face of such daunting statistics.

“They’ll continue to fight until it’s their time,” she says. “We will love them and cherish them until that moment and continue even after.”

Van Horne’s sister has created a site to accept donations on the family’s behalf.


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