NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Formerly conjoined twins Jadon and Anias McDonald have been transferred to a new hospital to begin rehabilitation nine weeks after being separated.
The twins were separated in a 27-hour procedure at Montefiore Medical Center on Oct. 13 and 14. They left the Bronx hospital that had been their home since February, transferring to Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester. There, they’ll receive specialized rehabilitation care, the medical center said Thursday.
“This is a bittersweet day for us,” said mom Nicole McDonald, “We are so proud of the strength our boys show us every day as they progress in their recovery, and we are looking forward to seeing them thrive in rehab, but the people at Montefiore have become our extended family. They have supported us every step of the way and we will miss them and this community so much.”
The now 15-month-old twins were attached at the brain and the skull. The hospital says the boys suffered infections following the surgery, and Anias developed seizures that are now being controlled with medication. Seizures aren’t uncommon among twins who were conjoined at the brain, Montefiore said.
Despite the challenges, the hospital said the boys are able to breathe on their own, eat, interact with their family and play with one another.
They left Montefiore lying side-by-side in a little red wagon.
“They always touch. Yesterday, during, as soon as they were in the wagon downstairs, I looked over and they had their arms locked. And then I looked over again, and they were holding hands,” said dad Christian McDonald. “They have a great bond.”
The 40-person surgical team that separated the twins was led in part by Dr. James Goodrich. It’s the seventh set of twins joined at the head that he has helped successfully separate. He called it one of his “most difficult cases.” After the twins arrived at the hospital in February, the four-stage separation procedure was planned, in-part, by using 3D printing technology to map the boys’ anatomy.
“We knew recovery would take time, but we are all amazed by how well the boys are bouncing back and are confident they will continue to achieve new milestones at Blythedale,” Goodrich said in a statement.
Goodrich and Dr. Oren Tepper, who also led the surgery, will continue to monitor the boys’ progress during rehabilitation.
At the Blythedale the boys will learn how to eat, walk and play again.
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