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Words in the News
Monday 05 August 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  One-year-olds Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej are held by their father Wenceslao
Operation to separate twins
Summary: Surgeons at a Los Angeles hospital are set to perform a rare operation later today to separate twin girls who are joined at the top of their heads. The skulls of the one-year-old girls from Guatemala are joined with their faces in opposite directions. This report from David Willis:
The News Listen  
  The twins can't see each other, but they can hold hands. They came to Los Angeles with their twenty-two year old mother two months ago after a non-profit group made arrangements for their treatment here. They've already undergone surgery to stretch their skin. Doctors planted tiny expandable balloons under each baby's scalp so they'll have enough skin tissue to cover their heads one they're separated. The actual separations will take ten hours and involve more than fifty medical staff.

Although their brains function independently, some of the veins are joined. The doctors need to preserve and re-route those veins or both twins risk suffering a stroke. Doctors have been rehearsing the operation using life-size models, which not only replicate the babies blood vessels. But show their veins. Conjoined twins occur roughly once in every two hundred thousand live births. Many cannot be separated and often, when surgery is possible, one of the twins dies.

David Willis, BBC Correspondent, Los Angeles

The Words Listen
the things done to make a sick person better

medical treatment that involves cutting open a personís body in order to repair it

groups of cells that make particular parts of the body

the tubes in your body which carry blood to the heart

to arrange differently the way one place leads to another

  suffering a stroke
experiencing a sudden severe illness that affects the brain


artificially copy

  blood vessels
veins, arteries and capillaries - the tubes in your body which carry blood to and from the heart and around the body

  conjoined twins
identical twins who share internal organs or other parts of their bodies at birth

  Read more about this story  

Other Words in the News archives


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