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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Siamese twin Jodie 'to go home soon'

Siamese twin Jodie could be well enough to leave hospital in the next fortnight.

An official at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester said she was making excellent progress, and was nearly ready to go home.

Doctors are pleased with Jodie's progress, and have allowed her parents to push her around the Manchester hospital in a pram.

Jodie, now eight months old, underwent a complex 20-hour operation at St Mary's in November to be separated from her weaker sister Mary.

The sisters were joined at the lower abdomen, and their spine was fused. Jodie's heart and lungs kept both of them alive.

Their parents, Michaelangelo and Rina Attard, had travelled from their home on the Maltese island of Gozo to seek medical help before the birth.

Religious belief

Committed Roman Catholics, they fought a legal campaign to prevent the surgery going ahead, knowing that it would inevitably lead to Mary's death.

However, doctors successfully argued that unless they tried to separate the twins, both would die.

Mary was buried in an emotional ceremony in Gozo in January.

Jodie has made steady progress since the operation. However, she will have to undergo further surgery in future.

A spokeswoman for St Mary's said: "I don't know when she will be discharged but you are talking weeks rather than months.

"It could be in the next two weeks. She has continued to make steady progress since the operation."

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