Bid to halt surgery on Siamese twins fails

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The Independent Online

The Pro-Life Alliance yesterday failed in a last-minute attempt to overturn a High Court decision to allow an operation to separate the Siamese twins Jodie and Mary.

The Pro-Life Alliance yesterday failed in a last-minute attempt to overturn a High Court decision to allow an operation to separate the Siamese twins Jodie and Mary.

The High Court rejected their application to have the Official Solicitor, Laurence Oates, removed as Mary's guardian.

Pro-Life immediately appealed against the morning ruling made by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the president of the Family Division, in a private hearing. But the application for the right to appeal was later ruled to be unsuccessful.

Bruno Quintaville, the director of Pro-Life Alliance, had put himself forward to act on behalf of the twins whose Roman Catholic parents, from the Mediterranean island of Gozo, near Malta, had initially opposed an operation to separate them. However, with the Official Solicitor, they decided not to take the case to the House of Lords after the High Court ruled the procedure should go ahead.

The operation that will result in Mary's death but give Jodie, the stronger twin, a better chance of a reasonably normal life, is likely to take place at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester next week.

Doctors said that the twins - who are joined at the abdomen and share a heart and lungs - would both die if they were not separated.

The best time to separate them is at three months and doctors have stated that Jodie had a good chance of living a normal life. She will have to have numerous operations to be able to walk, but could be able to have children later in her life.

In their ruling the High Court judges spoke of their agonising decision to separate the twins, causing the death of Mary.