'They handled it just fine' - Doctors separate 13-month-old conjoined twin girls

Doctors in Houston have successfully separated twin toddlers who were born in 2016 conjoined at the chest and abdomen.

A spokeswoman at Texas Children's Hospital says 13-month-old Anna and Hope Richards were in good condition after the procedure yesterday. 

Lindsey Fox says separation surgery was done on January 13 and announced on Tuesday.

Fox says the twin sisters join two brothers and their parents, Jill and Michael Richards of North Texas. 

Fox declined to provide more specifics about the family as the parents focus on their daughters' recovery.

Officials say a routine ultrasound revealed the girls were conjoined. 

The twins were born premature, at just over 35 weeks, on December 29, 2016, at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women. Their combined weight was nine pounds, 12 ounces (4.4kg).

"These are the kind of procedures you plan for the worst and hope for the best and we're blessed that this is the best case scenario," said Dr Oluyinka Olutoye of Texas Children's Hospital in an interview. 

"These Conjoined twins are what are called thoraco-omphalopagus twins which is just really a fancy way of saying that they were joined in the thorax and the chest and in the upper abdominal region," he explained.

"Well my hope is that this girls will grow up to have healthy lives and live nice productive lives and that they would grow up to be twin sisters, like nobody would ever be able to tell what the initial part of their life was unless they decide to tell others what it is."

Another doctor from the surgery team spoke to emotional family members of the twins after their operation.

"The hearts are separate and there they were doing fine. They're like their blood pressure didn't change. They handled it just fine," the doctor said. 



Olympic diver Tom Daley expecting baby with husband Dustin Lance Black

British diver Tom Daley's having a baby.

The diving world champion and Olympic bronze medallist showed off his ultrasound photo on social media with his husband Dustan Lance Black.

The 23-year-old athlete married Black last year.

British Olympic diver Tom Daley. Source: Bang Showbiz

The happy couple posted the photo with the caption "Happy Valentines Day".

Daley's set to compete for England at April's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

He won his Olympic bronze medal at home at the London 2012 Games.


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Where will Cyclone Gita hit NZ? '(That's) the million dollar question', says MetService

As Cyclone Gita was this morning upgraded to a mammoth Category 5 storm, New Zealand meteorologists are describing its possible course towards our shores as an unknowable "million dollar question".

Fiji's Meteorological service have Gita with winds of 203 kph, and moving westward slowly towards New Caledonia and Vanuatu for the next two days.

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths says Cyclone Gita will remain in the tropics until the weekend, and which point it will track south.

Check the forecast in your region on the 1 NEWS NOW weather page 

But whether it will be towards New Zealand is really impossible to tell at this stage.

"There's still a number of reasonable tracks the system could take as it starts to move out of the tropics late in the weekend," Ms Griffiths says.

"Some of those track more towards the South Island, some towards central New Zealand, some towards Taranaki, New Plymouth area.

"Basically trying to estimate where that system will go once it starts to move out of the tropics is like betting on a game that you don't know the rules."

Ms Griffiths says once it leaves the tropics on the weekend it will no longer be classified as a tropical cyclone, but it is expected to still be an "intense" system.

"As soon as it comes under some wind share in the Tasman, it's going to lose some of it's tropical cyclone characteristics, so it's going to become a different beast," she says.

"The models keep it being an intense system. The warm seas around New Zealand are to play a part, we have very warm Tasman sea at the moment which either way, wherever it goes, it looks pretty intense."

MetService will take control of tracking and grading Cyclone Gita once it leaves the tropics, and Ms Griffiths says they should have a better idea on it's direction sometime tomorrow.

If it were to hit New Zealand it could bring heavy wind and rain, swells and storm surges early next week.

"The million dollar question is where," Ms Griffiths says.

"It's going to make a great deal of difference where it tracks to which, if any, of New Zealand gets affected and we just can't say at this stage.

"We can't determine with any degree of confidence."

Even if the system doesn't directly hit New Zealand it is likely to increase humidity levels as it interacts with the unusually warm seas off our shores.

Jane Foster said Oxfam is still waiting for contact to be re-established with two of Fiji's southern Lau islands, after the edge of Gita brushed them yesterday. Source: Breakfast