With the Odds Against Them, the Fate of the Conjoined Hensel Twins Shocked the World

By 2 years ago

There’s nothing quite like finding out the joyful news that you’re expecting. This was precisely how expecting parents, Patty and Mike Hensel, from rural Minnesota, felt when the doctor told them they would soon be parents to twins back in 1990. But what they never would have expected was that their twin girls would be conjoined!

On March 7th, 1990, the Hensel’s welcomed Brittany and Abby into the world…

A Rare Birth

When giving birth to conjoined twins, the survival rate is extremely low. When Patty went into labor, she and her husband knew that it would be high-risk. Only 1 in 189,000 births bring a set of conjoined twins, but Brittany and Abby are not just conjoined twins, they’re dicephalic parapagus twins, which means they have one body, and two separate heads.  They didn’t stand much of a chance…

Chance of Survival

Most conjoined twins are born in southwest Asia and Africa, and sadly, very few survive gestation and delivery. Between 40-60% of conjoined twins are delivered stillborn, with 35% surviving just one day. Most are connected at the chest or upper abdomen, while a mere 5% are connected at the head. But this was just the beginning of the odds Brittany and Abby were fighting against…

Considering Separation

Once the twins were born, doctor’s presented Mike and Patty with another challenging decision. In the case of twins with shared organs like the liver and kidneys, separation is near impossible and extremely dangerous. But Mike and Patty also didn’t want their girls to live such complicated lives. What they decided would affect the rest of all of their lives…

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