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The BBC's Niall Dickson
"Jodie's condition remains critical"
 real 56k

Consultant surgeon Keith Roberts
"I would have left the decision with the parents"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 13:16 GMT
Siamese twin dies after separation

Jodie and Mary are joined at the abdomen
Surgeons have announced that Siamese twins Jodie and Mary have been separated.

Jodie is in a critical, but stable condition. As expected, her sister Mary has died.

Without surgery, both twins would have died.

However, the news of Mary's death has brought swift condemnation from pro-life groups.

Jodie is being treated in intensive care. It is thought that the next 72 hours will be crucial to her chances of survival.

She will be monitored for signs of post-operative infections or complication - both of which are very possible.

Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the medical team Mary sadly died

St Mary's Hospital statement
If Jodie survives she faces many further operations if she is to lead a normal life.

The marathon 20-hour operation at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester was completed at 5am on Tuesday morning.

It was originally thought that the surgery would be completed by midnight.

A team of 20 specialists took part in the highly complex operation.

Hospital announcement
The case is at the centre of world-wide media attention
A hospital spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that the operation to separate Jodie and Mary was performed yesterday, and this complex procedure finished at around 5am this morning.

"Jodie is currently in a critical, but stable condition. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the medical team Mary sadly died.

"As with all major surgery, the first few days following an operation are the most critical, and our thoughts remain with Jodie and her parents."

Bid to stop surgery

On Friday, the Pro-Life Alliance failed in two court attempts to halt the operation.

The fact that the operation went ahead does no credit to the English medical or judicial system

Josephine Quintaville, Pro-Life Alliance
Josephine Quintaville, of the alliance, told BBC News Online that her members were "personally devastated" by Mary's death.

She said: "We are quite scandalised by the quote from the hospital that everything was done by the surgical team to save Mary's life.

"They went into the operation knowing full well that it would kill Mary, they even went to court to get permission to kill her and now that has been achieved.

"The hospital has to have the courage of its convictions and not hide behind euphemistic statements."

Mrs Quintaville said the operation had been too burdensome for any three-month-old child.

"This has been an excruciatingly painful and invasive experience for Jodie.

"The fact that the operation went ahead does no credit to the English medical or judicial system."

Expert view

Mr Keith Robets
Mr Keith Roberts said the final decision to operate should have been the parents
Mr Keith Roberts, a consultant surgeon who has carried out operations to separate Siamese twins, said the decision should have been left with the parents.

He told the BBC: "Neither the medical staff nor the lawyers are going to be faced with the problem of looking after what could be a severely handicapped child and a child that is going to be faced with numerous operations in the medium term."

Doctors always intended to carry out the separation on the twins, who were born in August, during the first three months of their lives.

The separation is the climax to a legal battle which started after doctors sought permission from the High Court to carry out the operation against the parents' wishes.

On Friday, the High Court, followed by the Court of Appeal, rejected an application to have Official Solicitor Laurence Oates removed as Mary's legal guardian and replaced by the Pro-Life Alliance's director, Bruno Quintaville.

The twins' parents are devout Roman Catholics from the Maltese island of Gozo, who are opposed to the operation on religious grounds.

In September they launched a privately-funded appeal against the High Court decision which they subsequently lost.

TV deal

The twins were joined at the abdomen with arms and legs at right angles to their conjoined upper bodies, while their spines were fused.

Weaker twin Mary was described as having "primitive brain" functions while Jodie is thought to have normal mental functions.

Mary was draining the life from her sister as she relied on her for oxygen and blood circulation.

It has been reported that their parents have agreed a TV deal with Granada to appear on Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

The money they receive for the interview is expected to be put into a trust to pay for Jodie's medical care following the separation operation.

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See also:

03 Nov 00 | Health
Bid to stop Siamese twin op fails
29 Sep 00 | Health
Jodie and Mary: The operation
07 Nov 00 | Health
Marathon op to separate twins
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