Some surgeries are riskier than others, especially when a child is involved— or, in this case, two! Take this mind-blowing tale, for instance: a pair of twin girls who were born conjoined, underwent a dangerous surgery, all so that they could live in their own separate bodies. You heard that right; these toddlers used to share one body, but now have two!
The adorable twin girls, Eva and Erika Sandoval, made it through a 17-hour separation surgery on December 6. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford provided an extraordinary number of medical personnel—50 in total—to help facilitate this complex procedure.
Prior to the separation, the 2-year-olds were joined at the sternum, which meant that both Eva and Erika were always facing one another. Like many conjoined twins, the two shared several vital organs, like the liver, bladder, both kidneys, and a part of the digestive tract. At birth, the duo also only had three legs between them.
Several weeks following the incredible process, we are happy to report that the cute duo is thriving. Their doctor, Meghna Patel told TODAY, “They’re both doing well. They had no significant complications.”
Whew! It’s great to hear that these girls survived what will probably be one of the most significant days of their lives! But what makes these two toddlers truly incredible is that, even prior to the separation procedure, they were already beating the odds!
You see, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, only about 5 to 25 percent of conjoined twins live past birth. This extremely rare condition only affects about 1 in 200,000 live births and, as you’ve already learned, mere survival can be exceptionally hard for these special sets of multiples.
Before operating, the surgeons predicted that the separation could be risky for the girls. In fact, doctors told Eva and Erika’s parents that there was a 30 percent chance of one or both of the kids dying during the operation. Just prior to December 6, the girls’ parents, Aida and Arturo, wrote a message of hope on their Facebook page:
It’s hard to see the numbers and find comfort on the odds. But … from the beginning our girls have superseded the doctors expectations of life and will continue to show us their strength.
After the surgery, the twins did have to recover in separate beds, but they were recently reunited, and it’s pretty obvious that these two couldn’t be happier about lying beside one another once again! To see the heartwarming outcome for yourself, be sure to watch TODAY’s video below. The smiles on their faces say it all!
What do you think of Eva and Erika Sandoval’s harrowing medical journey? Do you have a loved one who has been through a serious procedure? If so, how did this experience affect you? Tell us all about your thoughts and personal stories in the comments section below!