Conjoined twin girls to be separated at Lucile Packard

Conjoined twins Angelina and Angelica Sabuco

October 31, 2011 6:33:10 PM PDT
A set of conjoined twins will undergo a major operation tomorrow at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to try to separate them. The 2-year-old girls face some challenges.

A set of conjoined twins will undergo a major operation tomorrow at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital to try to separate them. The 2-year-old girls face some challenges.

Angelina and Angelica Sabuco are conjoined twins with intense energy. They are from the Philippines and they now live in San Jose, but Lucile Packard has been their second home for the last several months.

"They love to play, they love to color and loves stickers," said Ginady Sabuco, the mother of the conjoined twins.

On Tuesday, their lives will change as doctors will perform surgery to separate the 2-year-olds born in the Philippines. Mom has tried to explain the operation to them with the help of toy dolls.

"I explain to them, you know you are like this, soon you will be separated, but they don't understand yet," said Ginady.

While they have separate hearts and lungs, their livers are fused together making it a risky procedure. About 30 physicians and nurses will be involved in the operation.

"We think the case will take eight to nine hours between going to sleep, getting prepared, separation and then reconstruction. I'm anticipating about a two-week hospital stay," said pediatric surgeon Gary Hartman, M.D.

This will be Hartman's sixth time trying to separate conjoined twins. The last one was in 2007 -- a more complicated procedure because those twins did not have separate hearts. That operation required a staff of more than 50. Those twins are doing fine and living in Costa Rica.

Angelina and Angelica's operation is less complicated.

"With the team we have here, if it can't be done here, I think it can't be done. The source of my confidence is the team and the group we have here," said Hartman.

"I hope and I pray that everything will be OK and they will recover successfully," said Ginady.

Something people always ask is how is this family paying for the operation and according to the hospital spokesperson the family has medical insurance.