An 11-month-old baby has returned home to her family in Africa after having two extra legs and a spine from her “parasitic conjoined twin” removed by surgeons at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Illinois, according to a video released by the hospital.
Her mother, father and three sisters were at the Abidjan airport on April 20 to greet her with open arms, eager to see the toddler in person for the first time since her excess limbs were surgically removed.
“I never thought that I’d see my daughter like this, today,” Dominique’s mother said in a video provided by the hospital. “It’s really a miracle. I want to thank all the surgeons who did a great job. And also thank you to the American people who helped my little Dominique, who allowed her to have a normal life, like other children.”
Baby Dominique, whose last name was not released to protect her family’s privacy, was born with the parasitic twin, whose bottom half protruded from Dominque’s neck and back, the video says. No hospital in Africa could remove the twin so she came to America for the surgery. Without its removal, her heart and lungs would have continued working for two people, thus shortening her life span, doctors said.
Dominique underwent the six-hour surgery on March 8, according to the hospital. The parasitic twin was successfully removed without any complications.
Dr. John Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Advocate, constructed and led the team behind Dominique’s surgery.
“It is awesome to see Dominique back home in the care of her family,” Dr. John Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Advocate who led the team that performed Dominique’s surgery, said in a release from the hospital. “It is the perfect ending to her journey to the United States. It is also a great beginning for her new life in the Ivory Coast. I’m so proud of our surgical team and the impact we have had on little Dominique’s life. It is why we do what we do every day.”