One of the formerly conjoined twins finally gets to head home after 428 days of being in the hospital. Her twin sister is anticipated to go home in the near future as well.
A Team Of Doctors For Anna And Hope
It was during a routine ultrasound that Jill Richards found out that she was carrying conjoined twins. The twins were found to be joined at the chest wall and merged at the liver and diaphragm as well. They were also connected by the heart, but doctors believed that they were still separable.
Jill and Michael Richards then immediately relocated to Houston where pediatric surgeon Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye could easily follow their case.
On Dec. 29, 2016, Jill gave birth to Anna Grace and Hope Elizabeth who were indeed conjoined by the chest. For a year, a multidisciplinary team of doctors studied Anna and Hope's case and went through many simulations and meetings to ensure a safe and successful separation for the twins.
Just last Jan. 13, the Richards family's wait was finally over when the procedure to separate the twins was finally and successfully carried out. In total, nearly 75 specialists including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses of various specialties, and cardiologists worked together during the seven-hour separation procedure.
Conjoined No Longer
The procedure to separate Anna and Hope proved successful and just weeks after, Anna is ready to go home. During the recovery time, Anna was a little ahead of Hope in progress as she was placed off the ventilator sooner, though Hope was doing fairly well, too.
"Each child has their own set of obstacles and we still have a long way to go," said Amy Adams, Jill's sister on the GoFundMe page they set up to help with the piling medical bills.
It took the Richards family over a year before they could finally hold their daughters separately, and exactly 428 days before they could take even just one of them home. They are expected to stay in Houston while Hope is still in the hospital.
Formerly conjoined twin goes home after successful surgery from @TexasChildrens https://t.co/mhqXTCwqc8 pic.twitter.com/uNVoGX9Woy — ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) March 9, 2018
Just last year, another set of twins were also separated by a team of 30 surgeons at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In the case of the formerly conjoined Delaney twins, they were joined at the head.
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that conjoined twins occur once in every 200,000 live births, with uncertain survival. Of the births, 40 to 60 percent are stillborn while 35 percent only survive for a day. As such, the overall survival rate for conjoined twins is only between 5 and 25 percent. About 70 percent of all conjoined twins are female.
One of the earliest records of conjoined twins was in the year 1100 when Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst were born in England. They were wealthy sisters who were joined at the hip and lived for 34 years.