Conjoined twins have successful surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, FL, beginning process of separation 


Update to the story:

Conner and Carter are separated in successful surgery at Wolfson Children's Hospital, and begin their separate lives.

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Today at a news conference, held at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the mother of conjoined twins Conner and Carter Mirabal joined pediatric surgeon Daniel K. Robie, MD, and neonatologist Josef Cortez, MD, to discuss how the boys are doing following surgery this past Friday, and what next steps will be.

Conjoined twins Conner and Carter Mirabal were born to Michelle Brantley and fiancé Bryan Mirabal at UF Health Jacksonville via Caesarean section on Dec. 12, 2014, at 11:14 pm at 36 weeks’ gestation.

The conjoined twins, who were born with a shared small intestine, two livers and two bile ducts that are fused, were transferred in the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 2014, to Wolfson Children’s Hospital by the Kids Kare Mobile Intensive Care Unit for emergency surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. That day, Dr. Robie and his colleague, pediatric surgeon Nicholas Poulos, MD, repaired a potentially life-threatening condition called gastroschisis, in which their shared small intestine was protruding through a weak area of the abdominal wall. The surgeons put the babies’ shared small intestine back inside their abdominal wall and put a patch over it to keep the bowel inside. The babies have been cared for following both surgeries in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

On Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, the boys had surgery to remove the plastic mesh that had been keeping their intestines inside their bodies and partially separated the shared small intestine to enable the babies to feed orally. The babies, who have been fed by IV since they were born, will receive food by mouth or tube feeding, possibly within a week. Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie also discovered that the boys have two bile ducts that are fused. Conner and Carter’s livers and bile ducts were left intact for future separation surgery.

After nearly four hours of surgery Friday, the babies are doing very well and their ventilators were removed today. Their outcome was outstanding and their surgeons and neonatologists believe that they may not need any tissue expansion procedures before they have a final separation surgery in about six months.

“Throughout the entire process, my neonatology team and I have been present to care for the babies, overseeing their day-to-day needs both before and after their surgeries,” said Dr. Cortez. “We are committed to seeing these boys through their various procedures, and will continue to be by their side as their health care teams at Wolfson Children’s, University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, and Nemours Children’s Clinic, Jacksonville, work together to create an excellent outcome for them.” 

“Our goal is to separate Conner and Carter when it is safe to do so,” said Dr. Robie. “Ultimately, we want to give these babies the chance to live full, independent lives, and it is within our capabilities to do that. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work with this family, and to make a difference in the lives of these two boys.”


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