CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN
Four-Month-Old Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated
Aired September 5, 2002 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Four-month-old conjoined twins were successfully separated from each other Friday in Columbus, Ohio. Makhala and Jasmine Heaberlin were separated in a 2 1/2 hour procedure. They are listed in critical condition, and their parents, Trinda Kaminski and Shane Heaberlin are in Columbus this morning to update us, along with their pediatric surgeon, Dr. Gail Besner.
Good morning to you all. Glad to have you with us.
Mom and dad, how are your little girls doing this morning?
TRINDA KAMINSKI, MOTHER OF TWINS: She's doing great.
ZAHN: What do the doctors tell you about what may be in store for Makhala and Jasmine.
KAMINSKI: Makhala, she might be going a little bit earlier than our Jasmine for right now.
ZAHN: And when might be, that you get to take that little bundle of joy home.
KAMINSKI: Hopefully soon. They said that about a month for Makhala. It depends on how their bodies react to everything. But, Jasmine, we have to wait for her heart to heal and get a little better.
ZAHN: Shane, have you had the opportunity to hold either one of them since surgery.
SHANE HEABERLIN, FATHER OF TWINS: Not since surgery. They are on their ventilators still.
ZAHN: And you can only wonder what it must be like for them to have any sense of separation now. Dr. Besner, tell us about what the Heaberlins face in the weeks to come.
DR. GAIL BESNER, COLUMBUS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, the main immediate post-operative worry that we have when we do such a complex operation is bleeding, but really, they didn't have any trouble in that regard. The next most common complication that we will watch very carefully for is infection. And the main goal is that they need to accomplish in the near future is getting off their ventilators, increasing their feeds, and then eventually being able to drink by bottle before they go home.
ZAHN: How risky of a procedure was it Friday when you attempted this operation?
BESNER: Well, we had an excellent idea of what the anatomy would be like before we went into the operation. The operation itself was actually 13 1/2 hours, and the most critical piece of anatomical information that we had prior to surgery was that the babies had two separate hearts, and that's what led us to believe we could successfully separate them with viability of both of the twins after the operation.
In addition to the fact they shared a paracardial sack, which is the lining outside of the heart, they also had a shared liver and a shared diaphragm, but we were able to easily surgically separate those shared organs, and the rest of the entire time in the operating room was spent by reconstructing them and putting them individually back together.
ZAHN: And Trinda was saying that she hopes that Mikhala will get home soon. How soon might that be?
BESNER: We are thinking perhaps about a month for Mikhala. Mikhala has a structurally totally normal heart. Her sister, Jasmine, has a very large hole between the pumping chambers of the heart, which will need to be surgically corrected, and so we anticipate that she will be in the hospital a somewhat longer period of time.
ZAHN: Trinda, describe to us -- obviously you must be thrilled that this surgery was successful, but when you found out you were carrying conjoined twins, what was your reaction?
KAMINSKI: I was pretty devastated at first, because it was something that I wasn't expecting. I didn't even know I was going to have twins until I was six months. And we went to an ultrasound, and I found out that we were having twins. About five minutes after they were looking at the ultrasound, and scanning down on my stomach, that's when they found out they were conjoined together.
ZAHN: And at what point, Shane and Trinda, were you told that separation would be even a remote possibility. Was that after the twins were born, or could they tell that late into your pregnancy?
KAMINSKY: Well, they said anywhere when I was about seven months, they told me that there could be a possibility they could be separated. So we were just waiting for them to be born and for them to get healthy.
ZAHN: And dad, in the meantime, what are you doing to get prepared for at least the first arrival of one of yours, Mikhala?
KAMINSKY: Go to work, make what I can, come home, get what I need for the house, try to make some room for them and wait on them to come home.
ZAHN: I have a little advice for you, mother of three here, both of you should catch up on your sleep, because once they come home, you're not going to get any. We are thrilled to share your good news with our audience, Trinda Kaminski and Shane Heaberlin, good luck to you. And Dr. Gail Besner, congratulation to you and your team, a grueling 13 1/2 procedure, and We are delighted to have you bring us up-to-date on this today. Thanks for your time this morning.
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