A baby girl from the Ivory Coast born with four legs and two spines has been successfully separated from a parasitic twin in a rare and complex surgery at a Chicago hospital.
Ten-month-old Dominique underwent a six-hour procedure involving five surgeons at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, on March 8. She is now thriving with the Chicago foster family who will look after her until she is well enough to return home.
Dominique was born with a parasitic twin. The bottom half of her not-fully-developed twin’s body protruded from her neck and back.
“A parasitic twin is an identical twin that fails to fully separate in development,” said Dr.
John R. Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital. “In other words, not another independent twin, but a twin that was dependent on her body system, such that Dominique’s heart and lungs provided the nourishment.”
Doctors did not give Dominique’s family name.
Nancy Swabb, from Edgebrook, Illinois, has looked after Dominique since she arrived in the United States for the surgery.
“She has touched our hearts. She’s a member of our family,” Swabb said. “She’s pretty amazing.”