Doctors Successfully Complete Rare Surgery Separating Twins Joined at the Head
Science| | By Margo Gothelf
Parents usually want their children to to be close and share a special bond, but for the McDonald’s, separating their children was not only a good thing, it was absolutely necessary.
Jadon and Anias McDonald were born conjoined at the head at 32 weeks on September 9, 2015. The 13-month-old boys are now separated after a 20-hour surgery and recovering at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. The boy’s parents are now adjusting to having two unattached babies.
“When they told me they were wheeling Jadon up first, it took me a second to comprehend. I actually asked why they rearranged the room because I hadn’t really internalized the idea that there would be two beds,” Nicole McDonald, the twin’s mother, wrote on Facebook. “Happy rebirth day.”
McDonald found out that she was carrying twins 17 weeks into her pregnancy. The doctors then had McDonald go under a repeat ultrasound, where they first discovered that the twins were connected at the head, formally known as craniopagus twins. Craniopagus twins are very rare only showing up “for one out of every 2.5 million births but almost half, 40 percent, are still births,” shared Today.
“I cried for two hours after I found out. My mind was flooded with questions, with doubts, with fears, but then, with hope,” McDonald shared on her GoFundMe page.
After some research, McDonald found Dr. James Goodrich, a surgeon in New York that had successfully separated conjoined twins before. Goodrich has separated seven sets of craniopagus twins during his career.
With the help of 40 medical professionals, Goodrich separated the twins on October 12. Jadon came out of surgery first, while more work was done on Anais. Both boys are now recovering, yet it is still too soon to tell how they will heal.
“I should feel so happy…TWO SEPARATE BABIES!!!…and yet I ache with the uncertainty of the future. I didn’t cry until the surgeon’s left the room. I was barely able to even utter the words ‘thank you’ because of the pit that still sits heavy in my stomach. We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown,” McDonald shared.
McDonald posted her appreciation on Facebook, giving a well-deserved thank you to Goodrich, calling him “a God-send from the beginning.”
McDonald gave her biggest thanks to God sharing, “Without God we would have unraveled many months ago.”
Check out the full thank you below.