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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Doctor's Brief Reporters On Status Of Conjoined Twins

Aired October 11, 2003 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to CNN LIVE SATURDAY. I'm Renay San Miguel. We want to go right now to Dallas, where doctors are preparing to brief the media on the separation of those conjoined twins from Egypt. Let's listen in.
DR. JIM THOMAS, CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER: I'm here to update you on the progress of Ahmed's and Mohammed's surgery to this point. And, as sort of a caveat, I want to let you know that we all appreciate your need to have detailed and updated information on the twins' progress. But we need to balance that with the need to allow the surgeons performing this procedure to have the space to be able to focus on that.

Much of the day today in the operating room has been devoted to necessary preliminaries that are required before actually commencing the neurosurgical part of this work. Like any complex procedure, the careful execution of this preliminary work is absolutely essential to the success of a complex procedure.

So much of the procedure, or much of the morning has been dedicated, as I mentioned earlier on, to properly positioning the twins, to having them in such a place that they were not at risk for developing pressure sores and having their IV access in a convenient place available to the anesthesiologist for the administration of medications. This procedure took close to two hours before they were in a position that the surgeons and the anesthesiologist were comfortable.

Once positioned, one of the anesthesiologists had some questions about Ahmed's pulmonary function, and so further -- surgery was -- or further procedures were stopped until an X-ray machine was rolled into the operating room. An X-ray was taken. The X-ray was found to be abnormal and in the process, a mucus plug was sucked from Ahmed's endOtracheal tube and the problem was resolved, but this did add an element of delay to the procedure.

Most recently, the plastic surgeons have finished a step in the tissue flap preparation. They've harvested fasea (ph) from the hips, which they've set aside to be used as grafts from the dura mater, or the covering of the brain, at the end of the procedure.

And I just got off the phone with one of the neurosurgeons, Dr. Swift, and he informed me that they were entering the neurosurgical phase of this procedure. So I guess his closing comments were the most reassuring to all of us in here, and that was was -- were two simple phrases. Everything is going fine. There have been no problems. And that's the information that I have from the operating room. If there are any questions, I'd be happy to answer. Yes.

QUESTION: This is about the timing for this. It seems it's taking just a little bit longer for preparation. It's still very early on. Any idea of how the schedule looks now for the surgery?

THOMAS: I think it's -- you're putting me in a position to speculate, and it's really hard, because the neurosurgeons are about to get into their their -- literally get into these children's heads and see what's -- see what they're facing. So I am -- I'm half a mile away from the operating room. I'm in no position to really tell you how long it is. Or how it will be. Yes.

QUESTION: Have they taken out the splinters in the head also?

SAN MIGUEL: You've been listening to Dr. Jim Thomas with Children's Medical Center in Dallas, saying that -- briefing the media on the condition of Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim conjoined twins, two Egyptian boys joined at the crowns of their heads.

He said most of the day the surgeons have been working on the necessary preliminaries. They are just now getting into the neurosurgical phase, believed to be the more difficult part of the phase of the separation. According to the surgeon -- one of the surgeons on duty there, everything is going fine. There are no problems so far.

There was a pulmonary function that was brought into question on the part of Ahmed, one of the twins. So there was a delay to the procedure while that was resolved. It was resolved successfully. Plastic surgeons have also been at work there.

But right now, for most of the day, just working on properly positioning the twins for the difficult part of this surgery, which, as we understand, has just now getting under way. If we get any more details on this, we will bring it to you.

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