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'Why Would You Cut Us In Half?': 16-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Refuse to Undergo Operation

Apr 25, 2017 04:00 AM EDT
Siamese Twins
3rd January 1946: An X-ray of a pair of Siamese twins born at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, with two heads and two respiratory systems. Original Publication: From the files of the Royal College of Surgeons.
(Photo : Keystone/Getty Images)

Conjoined twins Carmen and Lupita Andrade refuse to undergo surgery, citing that they chose to live normally despite their unusual situation.

As reported by International Business Times, when Carmen and Lupita were born in Thailand, they were sharing the same ribs, circulatory, digestive and reproductive systems. Doctors said they would only survive for about three days.

But the presence of the twins today proved the doctors wrong. They are now 16 years old and are living in Connecticut. They were given the option to be separated completely, but they chose not to despite the present complications and the others that would arise in the future.

"Why would you want to cut us in half?" they ask.

A post shared by Carmen A. (@andrade_mcarmen) on Jun 6, 2015 at 1:43pm PDT

Lupita has severe scoliosis and breathing problems -- something that will only become worse with time, New York Post noted. Lupita's lungs are functioning at only 40 percent capacity and whenever she is having difficulty breathing, Carmen has to breathe harder to compensate. Lupita told New York Post that they will "live out life and that's it."

"There's the whole psychological situation," Carmen added. "Because we've been so used to being together. I don't think there'd be a point," citing that both rely on each other for emotional support.

Associated Press reported that the two are attached along their chest walls down to their pelvis where their spines meet. They each have separate hearts, lungs, stomachs, two arms, but only a single leg, with Carmen controlling the right and Lupita, the left.

Despite being attached to each other, the two asserted that they are quite different with each other. Carmen is more assertive and Lupita is quieter.

"A lot of people don't notice, like, because when they first meet us, we kind of have the same reactions," said Carmen. "But our friends, once they get to know us, our friends literally tell us, 'You guys are so completely different,' and I'm like, 'Well, yeah. We're two different people.'"

New Zealand Herald cited Lupita and Carmen are omphalopagus twins, which make up 10 percent of all conjoined twins. About one in 200,000 live births are conjoined and most die shortly after birth or are stillborn.

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