Second Press Release on the conjoined (siamese) twins

30th September 2000

The Guild of Catholic Doctors publicly supports the parents of the conjoined twins for moral, ethical and medical reasons. They were clearly not under a moral obligation to consent to the death of one of their daughters to give the other a chance of a longer life.

Ethically the utilitarian argument "saving one is better that losing two" has frightening implications for the weak and vulnerable. There are just too many persons with disabilities, or who are near dying but have bodies which could be useful to others to admit such a dangerous principle.

It was also right to recognise the parents altruistic love for both their children. To evoke the power of the State to embark on what by any reckoning will be a hazardous operation, frankly mystifies us. The doctors were free to accept the refusal of the parents without penalty, and now must be fearful of proceeding with the eyes of the world upon them. It is a situation that any doctor would dread and must diminish the chance of success. We note that the Court judgment is permissive - ie gives doctors permission to operate; it does not order them to operate. We appeal to the Manchester surgical team to reconsider their position and accept the parents wishes not to attempt separation.

There are still medical doubts about whether Jodie’s heart with some help from Mary's cannot sustain them for a very considerable time and the courts were given contradictory medical evidence on this. Jodie’s heart is not enlarged or beating fast and is supporting a normal blood pressure and achieving 100% blood oxygenation. We have often seen children survive for many years on a single ventricle or with bizarre congenital heart abnormalities.

See 3rd press statement on conjoined twins

See first press statement on conjoined twins