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Wells twins’ separation scheduled for Jan. 19

ANADARKO, Okla. – The blessings and medical progress of Preslee Faith Wells and Kylee Hope Wells continue to increase, as the first American Indian conjoined twins are scheduled to have separation surgery on Jan. 19 at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. The Wells twins are of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Born on Oct. 25, 2008, the separation was originally scheduled when the twins were between 8 and 9 months old. However, test results on Jan. 7 confirmed the twins did not share the same heart and did not share the same blood flow, prompting the surgery to be scheduled much sooner than expected.

“The heart test was a relief to know that they’re not connected,” said the twins’ grandmother, Marla Longbrake, who said the twins now weigh 17 pounds.

The twins’ mother, Stevie Stewart, said the expected recovery time for the surgery would be at least one month before they could be released. The twins were originally scheduled to come home around Christmas but were unable to because “they weren’t progressing like they should have been on their breathing.”

Stewart said their breathing has progressed since then. “They’ll be okay for the surgery, and I think they’ll do a lot better after they’ve separated on their breathing.”

As part of the separation procedure, their livers will be separated, and a blood transfusion will be needed. To help with the surgery, Stewart said the Oklahoma Blood Institute will conduct blood drives in both Anadarko and Concho, and will donate one unit of blood toward the separation surgery for each unit it receives. Stewart said the twins’ blood type is B+, and that out-of-state donors could donate toward the Wells’ surgery.

For now, family members make daily trips from the El Reno, Okla. area to spend time with the twins. On the day of the family’s first interview with Indian Country Today, several of the family members were going to hold the twins for the first time.

“Everyone’s getting to hold them now,” Stewart said.

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