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Conjoined twin dies after separation surgery

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[December 03, 2008]  LONDON (AP) -- A week-old baby has died after surgery to separate her from her twin sister, British doctors said Wednesday.

HardwareHope Williams died Tuesday night. Her lungs were too small to support her breathing, the lead doctor said.

Hope's sister, Faith, is in stable condition, said Professor Agostino Pierro, the head of the surgical team.

"She requires support for her breathing but she is gradually improving," Pierro said. "However, it is early days and complications can occur."

It was originally hoped the operation to separate the girls could be done when they were older, but Pierro said the children's health had been deteriorating.

"This was an emergency operation because there was a blockage in their joint intestine which could only be resolved through surgery," he said. "The technical surgery worked well, although it was extremely challenging, and went according to plan."

The twins were born Nov. 26, joined at the abdomen, to 18-year-old Laura Williams and her husband, Aled.

"They are clearly devastated by the loss of their daughter and we offer them our deepest condolences on their loss," Pierro said.

Twins who share an abdomen usually share the liver, bile ducts from the liver, and parts of the intestines. More than 20 doctors, nurses and other health professionals were involved in the separation.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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