Conjoined Twins: After Separation   View more episodes

Aired at 01:00 AM on Thursday, Jan 06, 2011 (1/6/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


00:00:08>> Narrator: Erin and jade buckles were joined from mid-chest to naval.
00:00:11At four months old, underwent separation surgery.
00:00:17The girls shared a pericardium -- the sack around the heart -- a diaphragm, and a liver.
00:00:23Their hearts also shared a small electrical connection and beat in sync.
00:00:28>> Every other set of conjoined twins that had any kind of heart connection did not survive.
00:00:35Erin's heart was 60% in jade's chest, and they were thinking that one heart was driving the other, and they were worried that once they cut the connection that one or both hearts would fail.
00:00:48>> Narrator: After six hours, erin and jade were successfullynd separated, and erin's heart was tucked into her chest.
00:01:04>> Everyone was celebrating.
00:01:07It was an immense success.
00:01:09You know, just so much excitement in the entire hospital.
00:01:15>> Hi, sweetie.
00:01:16Hi, baby.
00:01:22We didn't know, you know, what had happened during the surgery, and the doctors didn't know what had happened during the surgery, and it took us a few months to find out.
00:01:34>> There's taylor.
00:01:39Trying to roll over, erin?
00:01:43Oh, trying so hard.
00:01:46Look at you.
00:01:47You're trying to roll over?
00:01:49Oh, honey.
00:01:50>> We knew something was going on with erin.
00:01:54Jade had started moving her legs a little, and erin had not been.
00:02:00>> I'm gonna give you a little help.
00:02:03I'll give you a little help.
00:02:05Good job.
00:02:07>> Everybody was kind of, "okay, let's give it some time.
00:02:10They just had this traumatic " jade, look.
00:02:15>> And you know, time went on, time went on, and it was maybe about a month and a half, we were, "okay, we need to figure out what's going on.
00:02:24She should have some type of " >> hey, pumpkin.
00:02:33>> We brought the girls in for their four-month immunizations, and jade screamed bloody murder for about 30 seconds or so and was fine.
00:02:43And we were sitting there, holding erin really tight, thinking same thing's gonna happen again, and they stuck her in the thigh, and she didn't even flinch.
00:02:52>> She just sat there kind of with a smile on her face, and i just knew.
00:02:57I said, "we had to go now.
00:03:00There's something seriously " >> andwe had an mri done, and they showed us that apparently, she had had a stroke at some point during the separation surgery.
00:03:15For a second or so, she had lacked blood flow and oxygen to that portion of her spine, and now she was paralyzed from mid-chest down.
00:03:27>> I'm watching.
00:03:28>> I want to see.
00:03:29>> Okay, I'll show you when I'm done.
00:03:31Okay, go, go, go.
00:03:33>> Finding out that she had a spinal-cord injury was just a devastating blow.
00:03:38I think I went through all the stages of grief, because you have this dream for your child, and now, you have to change that dream.
00:03:48And, you know, it's hard, you know, and knowing what she's going to have to go through in her lifetime.
00:03:57>> You hear a doggie?
00:03:59Okay, let walk.
00:04:01>> I want to see a doggie.
00:04:03>> I want to see a doggie.
00:04:05>> Okay, let's go find it.
00:04:06>> Okay, I'll get the doggie.
00:04:11>> You know, dad's mr. fix-it.
00:04:13She was lying on our bed one night, and said, "well, can you " I said, "honey, if I could fix your legs, I would fix your " she said, "well, you fix all my toys.
00:04:24Whenever my toys break, you fix them, so why can't you fix my " what do you say to a 2-year-old, or 3-year-old at that point?
00:04:31It tears at you.
00:04:39>> Alex and andrew, it was just a shock to me.
00:04:43It hit me hard.
00:04:45It was really a severe case, i thought.
00:04:49It started at the breastbone and went all down to the legs.
00:04:56My greatest fear would be that they wouldn't be able to separate them.
00:05:00>> If they had been left alone in an undeveloped country where they had no access to good medical care, they would have not survived.
00:05:14>> You guys want to do something together?
00:05:17You want to talk?
00:05:18They weren't separated until they were 13 months old, so you got pretty comfortable with how they were joined and everything and handling them.
00:05:28The shock grew less.
00:05:30>> I think the motherhood instincts kicked in.
00:05:34>> Mama.
00:05:40>> Narrator: After a few months,as thriving while alex seemed to grow weaker.
00:05:46>> Alex -- nutritionally wasn't getting what he needed, and he kept getting skinnier and skinnier, and according to the doctors, andrew was taking all the nutrition away from him.
00:05:59>> He was a parasite to alex, and taking the strength from alex.
00:06:05>> Narrator: An intravenous feeding tube solved the problem, but somethinelse was troubling kim about alex.
00:06:12I noticed he was getting a crown on his head, and it was a different shape than andrew's.
00:06:19Alex's behavior was delayed moreu know?
00:06:24He wasn't coming along as well as andrew was.
00:06:28>> I called him the little old man.
00:06:31>> Narrator: As it turned out, alex had hydrocephalous -- a build-up of fluid inside the skull.
00:06:36A shunt was placed to drain it, but damage to his brain had already taken place.
00:06:42A decision was made to separate the boys.
00:06:48Now, 21 years later, andrew olson hust been given access to a video of the surgery.
00:06:57>> Look at these guys, man.
00:06:58I bet they can sew the wings back on a fly.
00:07:02>> Wow.
00:07:11Of the large, open, anterior abdominal cavity.
00:07:14>> There's alex's stomach.