What are you able to accomplish in 27 hours? Just three hours over a normal day, that amount of time could allow you to put in a full day of work, plenty of play, and an ample amount of sleep. However, if you were a doctor, you could use that time to separate a pair of conjoined twins. That is exactly the amount of time it took for Jadon and Anias to be separated by a team of skilled doctors at the Children’s Hospital at Montifiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Recently, the two twins were able to see each other for the first time. The world loves their story.
The leader of the impressive separation was Dr. James Goodrich. It took his team of doctors a total of 16 hours to simply separate the two twins. The remaining time was spent tending to the infants individually. Early in the morning of October 14th, Dr. Goodrich informed the parents the surgery was successfully completed. He said simply, “Well, we did it.” The room then burst into applause. After composing herself, the mother posted a moving message to Facebook. She wrote happily, “Happy Rebirthday!”
This was the longest craniopagus surgery Dr. Goodrich had ever performed. One factor that made the surgery incredibly long was the need to be cautious and meticulous. If Dr. Goodrich or one of his teammates cut too deep, the result would have been catastrophic bleeding.
Nicole McDonald, the mother of the twin boys, had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Sanjay Gupta just before the surgery. She told Dr. Gupta, “When we sent them off this morning, to me, I felt at peace with it and just ready to handle what comes after.” In another room where the surgery was ready to begin, Dr. Goodrich had a different set of words for his fellow doctors. He said simply, “Failure is not an option.” However, those words would come back to haunt Dr. Goodrich only hours into the operation. It was at that point Dr. Goodrich realized the brains of the two brothers were more entwined than doctors had anticipated. For a while, Dr. Goodrich considered ending the operation right there. However, he and his team eventually found a way to safely continue.
Now that the operation is complete, Dr. Goodrich marvels at how well the two boys are doing. He said, “I’m the least complaining person in this room. When they’re ahead of schedule, it makes everyone happy.” Of the two boys, it is Jadon who is showing the most energy. Dr. Goodrich explained this is to be expected. Jadon was the dominant child. This meant it was his heart and lungs that were working diligently to keep both boys alive when the two were conjoined. Removed from his helpful brother, this makes breathing and eating difficult for Anias, but the doctors say the boy is progressing well. He is getting stronger each day.
The two brothers will be relocated to a rehabilitation center nearby. Here, they will undergo months of physical therapy. Unlike typical 1-year-olds, the formerly conjoined twins never had a chance to crawl or lift their heads individually. The boys will need to slowly master these simple tasks. In a way, the surgery sent the twins back to infancy. However, there are plenty of experts in physical therapy and more waiting to help the brothers.
Regardless of the future, the story of these two brothers seeing each other for the first time after their surgery will surely touch lives for decades. What do you think about their incredible tale? Let us know in the comments below!