Conjoined Twins Born At Naval Hospital
Girls Described As Stable, Healthy
By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 4, 2004; Page A03
A set of rare conjoined twins were delivered last week at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. The girls, who are joined at the abdomen, were described as stable and healthy two days after their birth Feb. 26.
At the parents' request, the hospital has not released further or more recent information on their condition.
The two girls were delivered by Caesarean section at 34 weeks of gestational age, about six weeks short of full term. A three-person surgical team and a neonatologist attended the births, the first delivery of conjoined twins at the naval hospital. There were no complications, a hospital spokesman said.
The girls' livers and diaphragms are fused. They also share a pericardium, the saclike structure encasing the heart, although their hearts are separate. The current plan is to separate them in about three months at a children's hospital that has not yet been chosen, according to the spokesman.
The girls' mother, Melissa Buckles, is an elementary school teacher in her thirties. Her husband and the twins' father, Kevin Buckles, is a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps. He is an assistant drum major with the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps at the Marine Barracks in Washington. The couple also have a 2-year-old child. The twins were named Jade and Erin.
"I'm the luckiest mother in the world to be blessed with two beautiful, healthy daughters," Melissa Buckles said in a news release.
Conjoined twins -- often called Siamese twins -- occur about once in every 200,000 live births. Female pairs outnumber male pairs by 3 to 1. Twins joined in the mid-trunk like these account for about 30 percent of cases.
About 1,800 babies are born each year at the medical center. About 400 of them are considered high-risk deliveries.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company