CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Hospital Press Conference on Surgery to Separate Twins Joined at Head
Aired August 5, 2002 - 14:07 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to go to Jerusalem coming up, but first we're going to take you live to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and hear how that surgery is going with the conjoined twins.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... the UCLA Hospital System and director of UCLA Medical Center, who will make a very brief statement. And then Cris Embleton, who is director of Healing the Children, the nonprofit organization, will speak.
Yes. Good morning.
DR. MICHAEL KARPF, DIRECTOR, UCLA MEDICAL CENTER: As you know, the babies were wheeled into the operating room at just before 8:00. The parents were there to kiss them, give them good luck kisses, right before they left. So the surgery has started.
We are cautiously optimistic in the early-going.
We would like to say thanks to the community and folks who have called in with well-wishes for the surgeons and the parents, and particularly the two beautiful little girls.
But we will keep you posted. And as I said, we are cautiously optimistic. And things have started.
KARPF: They've started prepping them. The anesthesia. That will take a little while. And then they'll get into the early parts of the surgery.
QUESTION: Doctor Karpf, can you tell us about some of the risks that are involved in the surgery?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. No, that's it. Thank you.
QUESTION: How about a spelling on the last name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Michael Karpf is K-A-R-P-F -- as in Frank.
PHILLIPS: All right, let's bring in our medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
Elizabeth, pretty brief and to the point, yes?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brief, Kyra. And I thought it was interesting that he used the term "cautiously optimistic." There's one thing that we have to remember here, is there's no good data on which to base any kind of a prognosis. This is so unusual. Conjoined twins are so unusual, and only 2 percent are joined at the head, as these girls are.
Again, this is going to be a 10-hour operation. He said they're prepping them now. And there's going to more than 50 staff people -- or approximately 50 staff people involved. So it really is -- there's no reason to be thinking, Oh, wow, this is going to really work, or oh, gee, we just don't think this isn't going to work. As he said, "cautiously optimistic."
PHILLIPS: And Elizabeth, once again, this staff, this medical team, are they all working for free, every single one of them?
COHEN: They are. Everyone is donating their time. The hospital has donated its time. Healing the Children, the charity, flew them in for nothing. It's estimated in total to cost about $1.5 million.
PHILLIPS: Elizabeth Cohen will continue to update how the surgery is going. Thank you so much.
COHEN: My pleasure.
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