Conjoined Texas twins get set for separation surgery

Last May, Silvia Hernandez gave birth to triplets: three little girls named Ximena, Scarlett and Catalina.

Catalina was in good health, but Ximena and Scarlett were conjoined — attached at the hips — a discovery doctors made even before the babies were out of the womb.

Delivered by C-section at Corpus Christi Medical Center, the Texas twins needed specialized care and were transferred to nearby Driscoll Children’s Hospital, where they have lived since they were born on May 16, 2015.

Their mom, who is 23, told CBS News that she and Catalina and her oldest child, 3-year-old son Raul, have been living in a nearby Ronald McDonald House during that time.

Hernandez, who speaks Spanish and some English, said the past year has been “difícil” — difficult.

“For the moment, my mom is helping me to take care of my son and Catalina at the Ronald McDonald House and that way I can come to the hospital and visit and divide my time between both of them,” Hernandez explained through an interpreter.

Ximena and Scarlett are connected below the waist — fused at the hips, but they have separate lower limbs. They were born sharing a colon and some reproductive organs, including the uterus and ovaries. While they have two bladders, they do not function properly.

They take nutrition through a feeding tube, so Hernandez has not had the opportunity to feed her daughters yet.

The surgery is scheduled for April 12th at Driscoll. The operation is expected to last anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, according to the hospital, during which time the twins will be separated and undergo reconstructive surgery.

One out of every 200,000 births results in conjoined twins, but the chance of a triplet birth involving conjoined twins is extraordinarily rare — perhaps one in 50 million, Driscoll specialists said.