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The Independent Online
Siamese twin girls born sharing a heart died in their parents' arms in hospital last night. The girls, born last Thursday at the Queen Mother's Maternity Hospital in Glasgow, died after being taken off ventilation when their condition deteriorated, a spokesman said. Dr Barbara Holland, a consultant paediatrician at the hospital, said: "The parents are desperately unhappy and distressed, but the babies had no long-term future. It has been a traumatic experience for the parents and the unit that cared for the children, but this may be a release."

Earlier in the day Dr Holland had said the children's outlook was "very poor" as they shared not only a heart but other vital organs and were joined side by side at the chest and abdomen. Dr Kevin Hanretty, who delivered the babies, told a news conference at the hospital that the mother, a woman in her 30s from the central belt of Scotland, had been unaware she was carrying two children, far less Siamese twins. She found out last Wednesday when she was given a scan at her local hospital because doctors thought she was large for her stage in pregnancy. The scan revealed what is known medically as "conjoined twins", a diagnosis confirmed when the woman was transferred to hospital in Glasgow.The babies were delivered by caesarian section on Thursday and together weighed11lbs.Their father was present at the birth.

They were moved to intensive care immediately, but their mother touched and held them on the day after their birth and had close contact with them up to the end. The children were baptised but the hospital refused to reveal their names.The parents had been adamant that they did not wish the babies to be separated unless both would survive. Dr Holland said earlier today that a separation was not going to be possible.

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