Conjoined twins who shared a heart and were born in the state of Pennsylvania have died after their parents opposed separating them.
Andrew and Garrett Stancombe, who were born on April 10, shared a heart and liver so their parents made the decision not to separate them. Instead, they said they chose to appreciate the time they had with both babies and allow nature to take its course.
On June 23, the boys started struggling to breathe and passed the next day.
Van Horne told the Indiana Gazette that she had returned to work for the first time last Monday when she learned that the boys were struggling to breathe.
Stancombe and a nurse kept them comfortable and Michelle returned home, but the boys passed away the following day at 4am.
They contacted relatives before sharing the heartbreaking news on Facebook just after midnight.
‘Our precious little boys have gone up to heaven,’ Van Horne wrote. ‘We thank everyone who followed every step with the boys and have shown their support.’
The couple, who had been advised to have an abortion, had been overjoyed when the boys were able to return home with them just four days after their birth by C-section delivery.
Doctors had given them just a 25 per cent chance of living more than a day, but the baby boys battled on.
As the twins shared organs, their parents decided not to risk operating on them and accepted that it might mean the boys would eventually leave them.
‘They’ll continue to fight until it’s their time,’ Van Horne told WPXI. ‘We will love them and cherish them until that moment and continue even after.’
In those early days, she was overjoyed to see them ‘doing everything a normal infant would do. That’s why we see them as our miracle babies’.