A little baby who was born in Ivory Coast with two spines and four legs is doing great after U.S. doctors performed a risky surgery to remove the extra limbs, according to Inside Edition.
Baby Dominique’s medical condition — which consisted of two extra limbs affixed to her neck area — resulted from a parasitic twin who died and never fully developed in the womb and whose body was absorbed into her own.
At just 10 months old, Dominique arrived in the U.S. last month to have the six-hour surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois — a procedure that not only removed the limbs, but also relieved the pressure being put on her heart and lungs, according to doctors.
“It’s as if the identical twin sort of dove into her body from the back and the only part sticking out were the hips and legs,” Dr. John Ruge told the Chicago Tribune, explaining fears that not removing the parasitic twin could have led to paralyzation.
Plus, Dominique was struggling to do the normal things that a baby her age would typically do.
“She wasn’t able to do some of the things that normal little kids do, like turn over and sit up and all those types of things,” pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Givens Kelloff told WLS-TV. “Now that we have removed her parasitic twin, she is a more normal girl.”
The surgery was no easy feat, though, as the procedure reportedly involved a 50-person team of doctors, nurses, technicians and others — a surgery made possible by Children’s Medical Mission West, an Ohio-based, Christian nonprofit that is “dedicated to making life-changing differences for children with medical needs from all parts of the globe.”
But just weeks after her March 8 surgery, Dominique is faring quite well, with Nancy Swabb, the foster mom who volunteered alongside her husband to host the baby at their home during the recovery process, telling the media that the baby is going “great.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Dominique is already sitting up and is expected to live a normal, functioning life; doctors did not remove the second spine, and believe she will function fine even with its presence.
Dominique will return home to her parents in Ivory Coast once she’s completely recuperated, with her U.S. host family regularly sending progress updates to her birth parents.
“It’s really an amazing story about trust and hope,” Swabb said of her family’s efforts to help Dominique and her parents. “Here we are helping another family. They just happen to live on a different continent.”
She continued, “It’s got to be unbelievably hard for her mother, being separated from her baby for two months.”
Dominique could be headed home as early as next month.
(H/T: Inside Edition)
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