published Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Once-conjoined twins to leave Texas hospital

DALLAS — The conditions of conjoined twins separated last summer have steadily improved, and officials say they'll be released this week from a Dallas hospital.

Officials at Medical City Children's Hospital announced Monday that Owen and Emmett Ezell are expected to be discharged Wednesday. They were born in July joined at the abdomen.

The boys are no longer being fed through an IV but continue to be fed through tubes in their abdomens. And instead of being hooked to breathing machines, they now need only the assistance of a trachea tube, officials said.

The boys will move from the hospital to a rehab center.

Owen and Emmett were separated at the hospital in August after being born joined from just below the breast bone to just below the belly button. The babies shared a liver and intestines and had an approximately 3-by-5-inch area on their lower stomach that wasn't covered by skin or muscles.

Dr. Clair Schwendeman, a neonatologist, said in August that once the boys were born, tests were done to determine exactly how many connections they had. During the nine-hour surgery, a team of surgeons separated the liver and intestines, with the most difficult part being the separation of a shared blood vessel in the liver.

Conjoined twins are rare, occurring in about one in 50,000 to one in 200,000 deliveries, the doctor said.

Dave and Jenni Ezell discovered the twins they were expecting were conjoined on March 1, when Jenni Ezell was 17 weeks pregnant. The couple, who now live in Dallas but lived in Oklahoma at the time, said their doctor there gave them little hope the babies would survive.

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