They Shared a Liver, Bladder, and Leg, Until Now
17-hour procedure separates conjoined toddlers Erika and Eva Sandoval
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2016 1:11 PM CST
A photo of a different operation on conjoined twins.   (Jamie Rhodes/Norton Healthcare via AP)

(Newser) – "From one to two" is how the Sacramento Bee is framing the successful result of an intense surgery that separated 2-year-old conjoined twins in California. About 50 doctors and other medical staff at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto were in attendance during the 17-hour separation and reconstruction procedure on sisters Eva and Erika Sandoval. They were conjoined from the chest down, meaning they shared a bladder, liver, and digestive system, as well as a third leg, which was used for skin grafts during the procedure. They each kept part of the shared organs, and because they now each have one leg only, they'll likely both be getting a prosthetic limb, surgeons have indicated. "The twins did very well," Dr. Gary Hartman tells KCRA. "I'm very pleased; this is as good as we could have asked for."

Doctors had originally placed the girls' chances of having a successful operation at 70%. Conjoined twins happen once out of every 200,000 live births, per the University of Maryland Medical Center. Although the twins, born in August 2014 to parents who already had three grown children, learned how to crawl, jump, and dance and were described by the Bee as being "talkative" and vivacious," their shared bladder resulted in dozens of urinary tract infections, and Eva seemed to be growing much more than Erika—a worrisome development that spurred doctors to recommend separation. A YouCaring page set up for the family has so far raised nearly $25,000 to help them pay for medical expenses and housing. "They look amazing. They're amazing," mom Aida tells the Bee. (Extremely rare conjoined twins were separated in NYC.)

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