Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Friday, 26 December 2008

Conjoined twin dies in hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital
Faith died 23 days after her sister Hope

Conjoined twin Faith Williams died on Christmas Day, 23 days after the death of her sister.

Faith and sister Hope were joined at the chest when they were born on 26 November. Hope died in an operation to separate them on 2 December.

Faith's mother Laura, 18, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and father Aled, from Anglesey, were at her bedside when she died.

Great Ormond Street Hospital said it was a sad but not unexpected outcome.

A hospital spokesman said: "We were always clear that Faith was very sick.

"She required the full range of skills of our intensive care staff, and underwent a number of further procedures. However, she succumbed to the complexities of her condition."

Faith underwent surgery earlier this month to assist with her circulation.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said: "The aim was to ensure more blood flowed to her body and less through her lungs."

graphic of conjoined twins
The twins shared a liver and circulatory system. Hope was the smaller of the two.
A team of 20 led by Professor Agostino Pierro performed an operation lasting 11 hours.
After separation, Hope's lungs failed and she died.

Mrs Williams is believed to be the youngest mother of conjoined twins in Britain.

She and her husband found out about their children's condition at a routine 12-week scan.

She underwent a Caesarean section at University College Hospital, London.

When Faith and Hope were born they weighed 4.8kg (10.5lb). They were joined from the breastbone to the top of the navel and had a shared liver but separate hearts.

Hope died because her lungs were too small to support her breathing.

Mr and Mrs Williams said they were very happy with the care they and their children received from Great Ormond Street Hospital, a hospital spokesman said.

Conjoined twins are rare and take place at the rate of about one in 400,000 live births.

Separating a pair involves an intricate operation and success is heavily dependent on which vital organs are shared.

Great Ormond Street, where the surgery on Faith and Hope was carried out, is the most experienced centre in Europe for separating conjoined twins.

The hospital said the survival rate for operations where the separation is planned and both children are otherwise well is more than 80%.

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