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CNN Today

Baby Girl Alive Because of Difficult Choice Made by Parents

Aired August 11, 2000 - 2:47 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Puerto Rican parents of a baby girl are overjoyed by her progress and good health. They know their daughter is alive because of a difficult choice they made 14 months ago with the help of an American doctor to separate their conjoined twins.

CNN's Brian Palmer has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fourteen-month-old Darielis Soto earned here middle name, Milagro, "miracle" in English, even before her birth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody says she would die, but she's alive. She's a miracle.

PALMER: A routine ultrasound test early last year revealed that Sandra Soto was carrying conjoined twins, connected at the chest and abdomen. The heart that kept both alive beat inside Darielis' chest. The Sotos were told by a doctor in Puerto Rico there was little hope for the children. Still, they refused to end the pregnancy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When God lets a woman have a child in her stomach, I think it's important to continue the pregnancy. And if you lose it naturally, thank God. But we weren't going to end the pregnancy for nothing.

PALMER: Ramon Soto contacted Children's Hospital. A surgeon there, Dr. Steve fishman, offered to do the complex operation for free.

RAMON SOTO, FATHER: That was the light we were looking for, a person that don't know us, but wanted to save our baby. That was the hope that we needed.

PALMER: Not only did they share a heart, but Darielis and her sister had a common blood supply through the umbilical cord, a unique combination of conditions.

DR. STEVE FISHMAN, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL BOSTON: It was clear that when that umbilical cord was divided, that there would be no way for blood to get from Dari's heart into her attached twin.

PALMER: The Sotos knew that the child without the heart would not survive. And as surgeons predicted, she died, but Darielis lived.

SANDRA SOTO, MOTHER (through translator): You see her with a lot of machines and you wonder what's happening. Will she live or not live? And you pray to God so she could live.

PALMER: Darielis will be examined every six months by the doctors at Children's Hospital. But, they say, her prospects for a healthy life are excellent.

Brian Palmer, CNN, Paterson, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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