A little girl has traveled from Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa to Illinois in order toreceive a daring operation to remove her parasitic twin, in what thehospital describes as an exceedingly rare variant of an already exceedingly rare condition.
The child, known only as Dominique, was born with the lower half of her undeveloped conjoined twin’s body including two legs and a pelvis attached to her upper back and spinal cord. This is a particularly extreme example of what’s known as a parasitic rachipagus twin.
The hospital announced on Tuesday that the 10-month-old baby is now recovering quickly after her surgery at Advocate Childrens Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, on March 8, 2017. The extraordinary case involved over 50 physicians from start to finish.
The operation was an incredible gamble for the small child, but also extremelynecessary. Dominiques small heart and lungs were experiencingenormous pressure as they were having to providehalf an extra body with blood and oxygen. On top of that, she was extremely vulnerable to paralysis because they were attached at the spinal cord.
The surgery begins. Advocate Childrens Hospital
Anybodys first reaction to seeing a picture of her is: Oh my god, can you do this? and it is complicated, Frank Vicari, the chief reconstructive surgeon at Advocate Childrens Hospital, said at a live-streamed press conference on Tuesday.This is what we do and its very exciting to us, so youre in awe about it, but its pretty exciting! Its a challenge.
Dominique’s family sought medical treatment for her condition from Childrens Medical Mission West, a US charity that organized the whole process. Unfortunately, her parents could not afford to accompany her on thetrip, so she’s been taken care of byNancy Swabb since she arrived in the US.
Shes about 2 pounds [0/.9 kilogram] lighter and shes sitting up, shes raising her hands and reaching out for things. She’s doing really well, Swabb said.Shes not used to press conferences so shes not smiling. But its really been an honor to be her host family.
All being well, Dominique should be healthyenough to travel home to Cote d’Ivoire within the coming weeks.
Dominique with Nancy Swabb just after the operation. Advocate Childrens Hospital
Recovering from the surgery. Advocate Childrens Hospital
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