Parents in Pennsylvania Decide Not to Attempt Separation of Conjoined Twins

Garrett and Andrew Stancombe
Garrett and Andrew Stancombe

A couple in Indiana, Pa. says they’ve opted not to separate their newborn conjoined twins because surgery would put both their lives at serious risk.

The brothers were born 14 days ago and they share a heart and liver. Doctors say Garrett and Andrew Stancombe are healthy but the complex surgery might cause one — or both — to die.

The parents, Michelle Van Horne and Kody Stancombe, learned of the circumstances at the end of the first trimester. “It was difficult hearing. I was scared and nervous,” Van Horne told CBS Pittsburgh. The doctors told the couple their babies might die before or shortly after birth.

But on April 10, Garrett and Andrew entered the world and were allowed to go home with their parents only four days later. The couple says the boys are sleeping and eating and generally doing well. But the family is taking it one day at a time.

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

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