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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Update on Condition of Separated Egyptian Twins

Aired October 14, 2003 - 13:05   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Live to Dallas, Texas now where Dr. James Thomas says vital signs are stable. Neurosurgeons continuing at the Dallas hospital where the delicate task of separating the blood vessels between the brains of the 2-year-old Egyptian twins continues. Let's listen in
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: ... cause some sort of fallback for these kids? What are the things you're looking for?

DR. JAMES THOMAS, DIR., CRITICAL CARE, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well they're the same things we've been saying all along. As long as they have as many lines and tubes in place and the long suture lines from the flaps they remain at significant risk for infection. And that doesn't change.

In addition, as time goes on, the risk for brain swelling decreases but doesn't disappear all together. So those are the two things we remain concerned about.

QUESTION: Can you give us some idea of what the rooms are like at different times of the day? I mean when the parents are there -- I think yesterday, you said there were so many people in the room, it was hard to see the connection. Is it a little less -- or is it a little more intimate?

THOMAS: Very much. In fact, one of the things that we are very careful about in children following neurosurgery is to try and minimize the amount of stimulation. Typically noise and light and those sorts of things that occur.

And so actually, the rooms right now are very quiet. They spend most of the time darkened, particularly when you're not doing direct interventions on then patient. And people speak in lowered, hushed tones.

And we have made it clear -- we restrict visitation to simply two persons at a time so that there are two nurses in the room, a respiratory therapist and two family members at most.

QUESTION: Doctor, We had quite a reaction from viewers on they're being in separate rooms now, wondering why separate the rooms. Can you explain the decision process in that? And what the purposes of keeping them a little bit apart?

THOMAS: Well, a lot of it has to do with space considerations more than anything. It was -- when they were together in the original ICU room that Mohammed is now in, there was a large adult size bed, but then there was two of everything else. There were two procedure carts, there were two ventilators, two IV holes for each patient.

And it was physically crowded, very hard to move around all the tubing. And particularly when there were two additional nurses, two respiratory therapists. And it just became a physical separation problem.

They have as much equipment now, but they're in separate rooms, so they have a ventilator, they have two IV poles, they have these newer, smaller cribs, but the cribs have -- they're plugged into the wall. It's just because of physical space requirements or considerations.

QUESTION: What happens when they start coming out of the medically induced coma? And what do you look for when they start to regain...

PHILLIPS: Dr. James Thomas, chief of critical services for Children's Medical Center in Dallas, updating the condition of the 2- year-old boys Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim, that were joined at the head. The surgery going on in Dallas. Vital signs are stable. We'll continue to monitor the progress as the clock ticks.

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