A team of surgeons at Children's National Medical Centre in Washington, D.C had on Wednesday successfully separated 4-month-old conjoined twins who shared a spinal cord and were joined at the lower back.
It was reported that Mateo and McHale Shaw from Sheboygan, Wisconsin had undergone the complex surgery that lasted for nearly 12 hours into Wednesday night. The hospital authorities had announced that the twin boys were listed as critical but stable early this morning. Chief surgeon Robert Keating, who led a team of 65 health workers, announced, "They are two separate individuals." He further added that, "Both are doing well." "All of the vital signs are doing well,"
Claiming that they were emotionally drained and relieved, Ryan Shaw, 28, and Angie Benzschawel, 25, the parents of the boys said, "It's been the longest day but it's been the second-greatest day of our lives, obviously the birth was the first one." They also said joyfully that "Now, having two individual children that we can pick up at any given time, is going to be great."
Their mother Benzschawel who spent hours waiting for news on her sons explained, "It feels like we've been here for weeks.' She said, "We are very happy with the results, we've been told that everything went as best as can be." Though the doctors have announced that the conditions of the twins are still critical, though stable, Dr Keating said it would be days or weeks before their recovery can be gauged.
It was reported that earlier during the day, the surgeons had successfully separated the spinal cord of the twins but had decided o keep their tailbone intact temporarily for the stability it provided to surgeons as they repositioned the boys. They explained that they had then separated the muscles, tissues and GI systems of the boys.
The parents of the twins explained that they were born on the 10th of May, joined at the lower back with conjoined spinal cords. The family members explained that the parents kept receiving periodic updates as they were in the hospital waiting room. In an interview earlier in the day Benzschawel said, "It's been a roller coaster, you have a mix of every emotion possible pretty much the worst feeling."
Family members and friends also assembled in the room, to give their moral support to the parents and for helping them pass time by playing Monopoly. Shaw who was wearing a green T-shirt with the words 'Feelin Lucky?' said, "I'm kind of a superstitious person."
Both of them gave their heart filled thanks to all the staff at the hospital stating that, " We've been here since April, the hospital staff is almost like another family. We couldn't get through it without them." It was reported that Melissa Buckles, a mother whose conjoined twins were separated at the same hospital two years ago also came up to give her comfort and solace to the parents.
Conjoined twins happen about once in every 50,000 to 100,000 births, with only around 20% surviving to become viable candidates for separation. The Shaw twin's family have reportedly set up a fund for the boys called the Mateo and McHale Shaw Fund, in care of the Kohler Credit Union, 850 Woodlake Road, Kohler, Wis., 53044.