1-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Go Home For 1st Time After Successful 11-Hour Separation

October 28, 2017
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Sometimes being too close to the ones you love can be unhealthy — and that proved quite literally true in the case of Erin and Abby Delaney.

1-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Go Home For 1st Time After Successful 11-Hour Separation

Though these two little girls’ parents are North Carolina natives, the 15-month-old twins have spent almost all of their lives in Philadelphia.

“Why?” you may ask. Well, as Liftable reported earlier in the year, Erin and Abby are conjoined twins connected at the head, a super-rare one out of every 60,000 births.

Or perhaps I should say “were” conjoined twins. On June 6, the two were successfully separated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia — and now they’re heading home.

Of course, the process wasn’t as simple as it sounds on paper. It started in October 2016 when doctors began with a preliminary procedure that cut through to the area where their skulls were fused and installed an implement that would slowly push the girls apart.

The process is called distraction. Every day, it introduced a millimeter or two of space between Erin and Abby.

That wasn’t the only step either. Additional surgeries introduced balloon-like expanders that further stretched their skin.

When the final surgery took place, it still required an agonizing 11 hours to complete. A trio of neurosurgeons worked hand-in-hand to separate Erin and Abby’s blood vessels, dura membrane, and even a small amount of shared brain tissue.

They then closed up the wounds around the girls’ skulls using artificial materials. At 8:43 p.m. on June 6, Erin and Abby began their truly separate lives at the tender age of 10 months.

“This is one of the earliest separations of craniopagus conjoined twins ever recorded,” said reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jesse Taylor in a statement. However, it would be a while before they got to experience anything except the environs of the Children’s Hospital.

A phalanx of specialists — including nutritionists, developmental pediatricians, and a host of entirely different surgeons — continued to work with Erin and Abby. Some of their tasks included encouraging the twins in developmental tasks such as sitting independently and basic movement.

The pair will need even more procedures down the years. Physicians will need to introduce bone to shore up their skulls, straighten out their hairlines, and repair any scarring.

“The doctors have a lot of hope for what the girls can do,” their mother, Heather Delaney, said. “But we won’t really know what kind of deficits they have until they’re about three. For now, they’re doing fantastic.”

“The ability to plan and carry out this type of surgery is testament to the skill and expertise available here at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” said Dr. N. Scott Adzick, the Surgeon-in-Chief at the hospital. “I’m extremely proud of Dr. Heuer, Dr. Taylor and the entire CHOP team, and I’m thrilled that Erin and Abby have a promising future because their courageous parents entrusted their daughters to our care.”

Sadly, not ever case of conjoined twins ends so happily. Many, in fact, end in tears.

A pair of Mexican boys, who shared all major internal organs while still possessing individual heads and brains, passed away earlier in the year. Still, we can give thanks that Erin and Abby seem to have many happy years ahead of them.

“As their parents, it is very neat for Riley and me to have a front row seat to this and watch them overcome these incredible obstacles,” Heather said. “We cannot wait to see what their future holds!”

For many young children, school is undeniably scary. The stress of tests, belligerent bullies, the ordinary terrors of simply attempting to fit in — all of it adds up to a lot of anxiety.

Boy Left at School on Birthday After Parents Jailed, Cop Takes Him to McDonald’s

One 8-year-old student in Green Bay, Wisconsin, recently had a very practical fear come true, though: On Oct. 23, he got left behind at school at the end of the day.

However, that wasn’t even the worst of it. You see, it just happened to be the boy’s birthday.

Such a situation might seem impossible given most districts’ thorough planning and desire to avoid liability. But this youngster’s situation stemmed from a sad combination of family circumstances.

The boy only had one parent on record — and that parent was in jail. What’s more, the school didn’t have anyone else listed as an emergency contact.

So school officials did the only thing they knew; they called the police.

The story could’ve ended in tears right there and then. But thanks to the quick thinking of the officer who arrived on the scene, one Darryl Robinson, a potentially sad situation soon turned around for the better.

Realizing that the young man had no one with which to celebrate his birthday, Robinson popped the boy into his cruiser and took him to the nearest Golden Arches. “We did have a phone number for his grandfather,” Robinson explained during a press conference.

“I asked his grandfather if it was okay to take him to McDonald’s before bringing him home. He said, ‘Yes.’”

On its Facebook page, the Green Bay Police Department further wrote, “Thanks to the owners of our local McDonald’s, we were given free cheeseburger coupons to hand out in certain situations. Officer Robinson took the child for a meal at McDonald’s and a ride around in the police car for his birthday. Family was eventually located and the child was dropped off.”

Robinson’s kind actions not only impressed the boy, but the greater community also. One citizen commented on Facebook, saying, “Thank you Officer Robinson for treating that young boy like a human being even though his parents are having a hard time right now.”

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