NEW YORK — Twin baby boys conjoined at the head were successfully separated early Friday at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Jadon and Anias McDonald, 13-month-old twins, had begun their surgery Thursday. The separation procedure lasted more than 16 hours and was followed by several hours more of surgery to reconstruct their skulls and make them whole.
Jadon was the first of the boys to be finished. He was wheeled out of the operating room around 7:40 a.m. on a stretcher, his perfectly shaped head wrapped in white gauze, and taken on an elevator to the pediatric intensive care unit on the 10th floor, where he was reunited with his parents, Nicole and Christian McDonald.
“My boy,” Christian said with tears in his eyes.
Nicole bent over in tears.
As of 8 a.m., Anias was still undergoing surgery.
The surgery was led by Dr. James Goodrich, considered the leading expert on what’s known as craniopagus surgery.
It marked the seventh separation surgery performed by Goodrich — and just the 59th craniopagus separation surgery in the world since 1952.
The McDonald twins was his longest craniopagus surgery, exceeding 22 hours.
Nicole and Christian had to make an agonizing decision, opting for the procedure even though it carried major risks, including the possibility of death or long-term brain damage for one or both boys.
Goodrich informed the family of the separation around 3 a.m.
“Well, we did it,” Goodrich said.
On her Facebook page, Nicole wrote: “TWO SEPARATE BABIES!!!…and yet I ache with the uncertainty of the future. I didn’t cry until the surgeons left the room. I was barely able to even utter the words ‘thank you’ because of the pit that still sits heavy in my stomach. We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown. The next few months will be critical in terms of recovery and we will not know for sure how Anias and Jadon are recovering for many weeks.”