Formerly conjoined twin girls are one step closer to going home after being released from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital on Thursday so that they could continue inpatient rehabilitation at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. Eva and Erica Sandoval, who underwent separation surgery on Dec. 6, were thrown a hospital farewell party by members of their 50-person care team before they were released.
“I’m over the moon,” Aida Sandoval, the two-year-old twins’ mother, told the hospital’s patient blog. “It’s still surreal seeing them separate, knowing that it’s still them as two individual bodies. Now we’re just waiting for their next chapter to being, and the anticipation is indescribable.”
Dr. Gary Hartman, the pediatric surgeon who led the 17-hour separation surgery, said the girls’ personalities have blossomed during their recovery. They were born connected at the sternum and shared three legs. Tissue from the third leg was used as part of Erika’s reconstructive surgery, meaning they each have one leg. It is uncertain if they will be fitted with prosthetics as they grow, according to the patient blog.
“Improving their functional mobility will be really important in getting them to continue adapting to their new bodies,” Kelly Andrasik, an occupational therapist who works with the girls at Packard Children’s, said. “The specialized equipment that an inpatient rehab like Davis offers will really help them with this.”
The Sandovals have chronicled their girls’ medical journey on Facebook and on a YouCaring page, which helped raise money for the surgery and ensuing care. Aida wrote of her initial shock at finding out she was pregnant with twins as the family already had three children who were 17, 23 and 24 at the time. She said she and her husband were told the twins might not survive birth, but defied the odds and were born on Aug. 10, 2014.
“The days has finally come,” a post on the family’s Facebook page, Arturo’s Angels: Born as One Soon to Be Two, said. “Friends and Family we are officially being discharged from Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital to be transferred closer to home to finish recovery and physical therapy.”