Decade on, separate lives for once-conjoined twins

by Jim Fitzgerald
Formerly conjoined twins Clarence, left, and Carl Aguirre, 12, embrace while relaxing with their mother Arlene at the family's home in Scarsdale, N.Y., Thursday, July 31, 2014. On Monday, Aug. 4, the family will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the surgery that separated the twins at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, where the surgery was performed. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Conjoined twins from the Philippines who were separated 10 years ago in a New York City hospital now lead disparate lives.

Clarence Aguirre uses an iPad, dances to Michael Jackson tunes and high-fives visitors. His brother, Carl, has significant, possibly permanent, problems walking and talking.

Their mother says the fact that both 12-year-olds are alive is reason enough to celebrate.

When they were born joined at the head, she remembers in the Philippines telling her she would have to choose which one would live and which would die.

But doctors at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx were able to save both boys in a 2004 operation. They've since performed four similar separations around the world.

The anniversary is being celebrated Monday at Montefiore.

Arlene Aguirre, center, plays with her twin sons, Clarence, left, and Carl, at the family's home in Scarsdale, N.Y., Thursday, July 31, 2014. On Monday, Aug. 4, the family will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the risky surgery performed that separated the formerly conjoined twins at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, where the surgery was performed. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Clarence Aguirre, left, embraces his twin brother Carl while relaxing at the family's home with their mother Arlene in Scarsdale, N.Y.,Thursday, July 31, 2014. On Monday, Aug. 4, the the formerly-conjoined twins, now 12, are celebrating the ten year anniversary of the risky surgery that separated them. The surgery was performed in four stages at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Arlene Aguirre, center, tells stories about her son Carl, as she sits with Carl's twin brother Clarence, 12, at the family's home in Scarsdale, N.Y., Thursday, July 31, 2014. On Monday, Aug. 4, 2014, Montefiore Hospital and the family will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the risky surgery that separated the boys, who were born as conjoined twins. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


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