Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, July 31, 1984
Doctors choose sexes
for separated twins
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Press international reports
TORONTO (AP)- Doctors
separating 2 -year-old Siamese twins
chose "the more active, aggressive in-
fant" to leave as a boy, and made the
meeker child a girl, the chief of surgery
at the Hospital for Sick Children said
Dr. Robert Filler, who headed a team
of 43 doctors and nurses that operated
for 17 hours over the weekend to
divide Lin and Win Htut of Burma, told
a news conference the children were
both recovering well.
"SO FAR, so good, is all I can say,"
Filler said. "They're doing as well as
we could expect. They're not out of the
Filler, who twice before separated
Siamese twins, said he believed the
operation on Lin and Win was the most
complicated ever performed in terms
of number of organs separated.
He said he did not know of any
previous separation in which one twin's
sex was changed, but was not sure it
had not occurred. Siamese twins
develop from a single fertilized egg that
has divided imperfectly.
THE TWO children, who had lived
their entire lives in a hospital in
Rangoon, Burma, before being brought
to Canada, were joined below the
diaphragm, almost side-by-side,
roughly in the shape of a "Y." Doctors
had to cut them apart at the pelvis,
divide what had been two joined livers,
separate their intestines, make blad-
ders and urethras for the twins and
construct a vagina for Win, who was
chosen to be the girl.
Both children have male
chromosomes, but they shared just one
set of genitalia.
"The genitals that were present were
exactly in the middle," Filler said.
IT WOULD have been possible to
make both children girls, but their
parents said they wanted at least one
"Lin was the more active, aggressive
infant," Filler asid, and "seemed to be
the more appropriate child to leave as a
Before the separation, only one of the
twins could sit up at a time. Although
Win was just as capable physically,
Lin, the smaller child dominated his
sibling and was usually the one sitting
up, said Dr. Geoffrey Barker, director
of the hospital's intensive care unit.
WIN WILL be given hormone treat-
ment to develop as a woman, although
she will not be able to have children.
Lin should be capable of fathering
After the twins were separated,
tissue from a useless third leg was used
to cover Lin's abdominal wall for Win,
whose natural tissue should gradually
grow to replace it.
During the operation, Win's normal
blood volume was replaced 10 times in
transfusions and Lin's blood was
replaces six times. Win needed still
more blood when she was rushed back
into surgery Sunday afternoon to repair
a broken blood vessel.
Barker told reporters Lin was awake
and alert yesterday and being weaned
from a ventilator. His sister Win was
still under heavy sedation and attached
to the ventilator to control her
"Win is about 24 hours behind the
progress of Lin, but we expect her to
catch up, " Barker told reporters.
Oil tanker runs aground
on Louisiana coast
LAKE CHARLES, La - a 690-foot
tanker loaded with 14.7 million
gallons of oil ran aground yesterday
near two wildlife refuges, crumpling
the bow of the tanker and leaking
one square mile of crude oil,
No injuries were reported to the
crew of the British tanker Alvenus,
which ran aground around 1 p.m.,
then drifted outside the dredged
channel in the Gulf of Mexico about
40 miles south of Lake Charles, said
Coast Guard spokesman Marq Ken-
Although it was not known how
much oil had leaked, Kennedy said
there was potential for environmen-
tal disaster and officials were
"treating it as if it is a spill of the
Train wreck near Scottish
village kills 13, injures 44
POLMONT, Scotland - Three
cars of a high-speed train carrying
commuters and tourists hurtled off
the track near this village yester-
day, killing 13 people and injuring
44, British Rail and police reported.
The lead coach somersaulted and
crashed upside down in a woodland
area, demolishing a stone farm wall
and tearing up part of the track, said
Donald McTeggart, A British
Rail spokesman in Edinburgh. The
two following coaches toppled on
their sides, but three others
Riot kills 19 in Thailand
BANGKOK, Thailand - At least 19
people were trampled to death and
45 others seriously injured yester-
day in a frenzied stampede for sacks
of rice given away free at an annual
Buddhist charity event.
Hours after the food riot at the
Meng Lieng BuddhistAssociation
meeting hall in western Bangkok,
police said they were still compiling
the list of dead and injured, in-
cluding many children, women and
elderly people .
Police said between 3,000 and 4,000
people stormed the hall when
charity workers began distributing
2,000 free charity packets containing
nine pounds of rice, dried noodles,
cooking utensils and other goods.
Millions of small beetles
kill pine trees in Texas
NEW WAVERLY, Texas -
Millions of beetles smaller than
grains of rice, are chewing across
eastern Texas, killing thousands of
mature pine trees in what U.S.
Forest Service officials describe as
the worst outbreak in a half-century.
Swarms of the southern pine
beetle have been found at about 3,200
sites - raning from a few trees to
100 acres -on public and private land,
and thousands of trees have been cut
down. The city of Houston has had to
cut down about 400 trees in two
parks and hundreds more may have
Marine combat troops
finalize Beirut pullout
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The last U.S.
Marine combat troops in Lebanon
began pulling out of Beirut yesterd-
ay leaving guard duty at the new
American Embassy to a handful of
Marines and Lebanese security
Three amphibious assault vehicles
called "Amtraks" carried a group of
Marines to the west Beirut water-
front at dawn and chugged into the.
Mediterranean for the short ride to
two U.S. warships stationed off-
The departure of about 100 combat
troops from the 22nd Marine Am-
phibious Unit was expected to take
two days, coinciding with the U.S.
Embassy's move into new offices in
east and west Beirut.
Researchers say discovery
may prevent diabetes
BOSTON - Replacing defective
white blood cells can prevent
diabetes in laboratory rats, and
researchers say the discovery may
lead to a way to prevent people from
getting this disease.
The goal is to find ways to ward off
juvenile diabetes, a dangerous
inherited disease that destroys the
body's ability to make insulin.
A strain of rat called the BB rat
gets a form of the disease that is
very similar to human juvenile
diabetes and has become an impor-
tant testing ground for theories
about how diabetes works.
Illegal aliens allege
hovels were unsafe
(Continuedfrom Page 3)
migration officials, and slip across the
border near Tijuana to pick
strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers,
avocadoes and flowers. When the
various harvest seasons are over in the
autumn, the men return to their village
with what they have saved from the
$150-$300 a week they have earned as
ONMAY 15, 1981, four of the men
from San Martin del Estado were
sleeping in a pit carved into the ground
beneath one of eight makeshift struc-
tures in a small clearing amid the
strawberry fields near Oceanside,
Calif., about 40 miles north of here.
The men from the village had been
coming to that clearing for years, living
in the huts they made of discarded two-
by-fours, plywood and sheet plastic.
They slept in shallow cellar-caves they
dug beneath the structures to keep
warm - there was no heat, plumbing or
electricity - and to avoid detection by
Perhaps from sparks from a cam-
pfire in the clearing, or perhaps from
the warmed rocks the men took into the
cellar-cave to ward off the ground chill,
a fire started in the plastic sheeting that
wrapped the hovel like a cocoon.
Antoline Gonzalez, 20, was killed.
Venancio Suarez, 33, and Abel Gon-
zalez, 19, were badly burned, especially
on their hands. The Mexican consul in
San Diego put them in touch with an at-
torney, Michael Reed, who filed the
lawsuit a month later. Defendants in-
cluded the current landowner, the
owners from whom he had purchased
the land a few months earlier, the far-
mer who had leased the land at the
time, and neighboring farmers who had
employed the three men. Later that
summer, the current owner, Harry
Rubenstein, had a buldozer level the
remaining seven hovels in the clearing.
Reed said he will claim at the trial,
which is scheduled to open in Superior
Court here Aug. 30, that the defendants
had a duty to "exercise ordinary care"
to avoid exposing the men to "an
unreasonable risk of harm."
In pre-trial proceedings, lawyers for
the neighboring farmers who employed
the men were dismissed as defendants
in the lawsuit. Jim Reynolds, the
lawyer representing the former
owners, Ellis and Golda Zahniser, said
he will argue that their responsibility
ended when they sold the land to the
He said that alternately, he will join
the defense for the current owner in
claiming that the migrant workers
were illegal squatters, on the land
without permission, and that they
themselves created the "unreasonable
risk of harm."
Jack Winters, the lawyer for the
current owner, said he would not
discuss the case until the trial is over.
Member of the Associated Press
Vol. XCIV- No. 31-S
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