FORT WORTH (TBEN) – For the first time in Cook Children’s Medical Center’s 105-year history, a team of 25 medical professionals, including 6 surgeons, succeeded in separating conjoined twins.
Dozens of medical experts from various specialties formed the surgical team for AmieLynn Rose and JamieLynn Rae Finley of Fort Worth.
The sisters lay face-to-face and shared a liver, which was successfully separated on Jan. 23 during the 11-hour procedure.
“They were connected from the lower part of the sternum to their navel,” explained Jose L. Iglesias, MD, medical director of pediatric surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center and the chief surgeon for the twins’ surgery.
The medical team spent months planning and collaborating for the divorce. They studied scans of the girls, built models of their anatomy, mapped out possible surgical solutions, prepared the operating room, and rehearsed the carefully choreographed surgical procedure.
The expert team orchestrated all expected details for the day of surgery and the days before.
After surgery, the girls returned to Cook Children’s NICU to begin their journey to recovery, this time traveling together, but separately.
“They’ll grow up to be the little girls they’re supposed to be. Independent and feisty, as they’ve already shown us they are,” said Dr. Iglesias.
Saginaw parents James Finley and Amanda Arciniega were thrilled to reunite with their girls and see them in their separate cribs, lying on their backs for the first time Monday night. The couple, who share two other children who are also patients at the hospital, talked about their journey.
“It was like walking through a haunted house. You just have to go through it,” said the girl’s father. He also echoed what Iglesias said about Jamie’s personality versus Amy.
“Jaime is the feisty one. Amy is always laid back,” he said.
The girls were born prematurely on October 3, 2022, at 34 weeks gestation, weighing 4 pounds, 7.8 ounces at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. Since birth, doctors at both facilities have worked closely together to create a birth and postnatal game plan. They were transferred to the Cook Children’s NICU to remain under the care of their neonatologists.
Doctors are optimistic as the girls heal. Their primary focus is respiratory support and pain management for the next few days.
“We are now turning our attention to their immediate recovery,” said Dr Mary Frances Lynch.
Looking forward to when the girls return home, their father looks forward to holding them both separately.
“It’s going to feel great. They’re going to be a lot lighter.”