The 2½-year-old sisters, who were surgically separated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in December, moved March 9 from Palo Alto to UC-Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento.
March 10, 2017 - By Erin Digitale
Formerly conjoined twins Eva and Erika Sandoval are another step closer to going home.
The 2½-year-old sisters, who were surgically separated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford on Dec. 6, moved March 9 from Palo Alto to UC-Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. There, they will receive a few weeks of inpatient rehabilitation before returning to their family’s home in Antelope, California.
“Erika and Eva look really great,” said pediatric surgeon Gary Hartman, MD, professor of surgery at the School of Medicine. Hartman led the 50-person team that separated the twins in a 17-hour operation. He has closely monitored their recovery.
“The girls have just blossomed in terms of personality,” he said. “They’re very engaging and chatty.”
At a March 6 hospital farewell party, parents Art and Aida Sandoval were excited. “I’m over the moon,” Aida said. “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 begin, and the anticipation is indescribable.”
At UC-Davis Children’s Hospital, the twins’ caregivers will focus on helping their mother and home care nurses learn to take care of them safely at home, and will keep building skills the girls still need, such as eating by mouth. As infants, Erika and Eva required tube feeding. They still receive most of their nutrition via nasogastric tubes.
The physical and occupational therapists at UC-Davis will also work to improve the girls’ mobility. Because each sister now has one leg, they will need to learn to use customized wheelchairs to move around. Because they each lack some pelvic bones on the side without a leg, it is unclear if they will be able to receive prosthetic legs in the future.
Erika and Eva will continue to receive regular checkups with Hartman and other caregivers at Packard Children’s after they go home to Antelope.
“They’re doing really well and they’re ready to go,” Hartman said. “It’s a great thing for everyone on our team to see.”
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