Surgeons at a Philadelphia hospital are attempting to separate 8-month-old conjoined twins from Adams, NY, on Wednesday.
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says Allison and Amelia Tucker are joined at the lower chest and abdomen and share their chest wall, diaphragm, pericardium and liver. The hospital is not releasing much information about the progress of the tricky surgery, but is expected to issue a news release Wednesday evening.
Lead surgeon Holly Hedrick says in a statement that the infants are "excellent candidates for separation." She said doctors expect that after surgery, recovery and therapy, the girls "will be able to live full, healthy and independent lives."
Offiials said the surgery will be the 21st separation of conjoined twins performed at the hospital.
St. Cecillia's Catholic Church in Adams has been holding a prayer vigil for the twins. Parishioners have been praying in shifts since 6:00 Wednesday morning. In front of the altar is a podium with a photograph of the Tucker Twins. Their parents, Shellie and Greg Tucker are members of the church. Among those participating in the vigil is Marie Kardelis. She told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "It's a difficult thing. Definitely the birth was the first difficult thing to do and now the separation surgery is not easy... we're needed to pray for them and help them as much as we can. Theyr'e in the surgeon's hands and hopefully the surgeon has God in his heart."
(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)