A team of expert pediatric surgeons and specialists at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has separated 12-month-old ischiopagus (fused together at the lower half of the body) conjoined twin girls, Miracle and Testimony Ayeni. Conjoined twins occur one in 200,000 live births, with 6 percent of those being ischiopagus. The complex, high-risk surgery resulted in complete separation after an 18-hour procedure on Nov. 7-8. Both girls are recovering at Le Bonheur Children’s. While they will require further surgeries, the hospital and family are optimistic about their long-term prognosis.
Miracle and Testimony were born on Nov. 16, 2015, in Enugu State, Nigeria. In January 2016, Nigerian-based Linking Hands Foundation (LHF) was notified of their medical situation. LHF is a registered organization with a focus on children’s education, health and values. Upon learning of the twins’ condition, LHF committed to solicit support toward their medical care. Through its research, LHF referred the Ayeni family to Le Bonheur where they have spent the past five months as surgeons prepared for surgery. Efe Farinre, founder of Linking Hands Foundation said, “We are thankful for our connection to Le Bonheur on behalf of the Ayeni twins as part of our Every-Child-Counts Initiative. While caring for Miracle and Testimony, Le Bonheur has consistently demonstrated that truly, they are a hospital where every child matters.”
Miracle and Testimony’s multi-disciplinary team consists of pediatric experts from specialties including anesthesia, child life, critical care, pediatric surgery, orthopedics, nursing, plastic surgery, radiology, rehabilitation therapy, social work, spiritual care and urology. Since their arrival June 27, the twins have been inpatients at Le Bonheur while the family has resided at FedExFamilyHouse, Le Bonheur’s home away from home for out-of-town families.
“Without faith things wouldn’t have worked out,” said the girls’ father, Sam Ayeni. “When you give everything to God and believe, he will give you peace. I have the faith that He is helping us, and we are giving all of this to Him.”
“The medical team at Le Bonheur continues to amaze me every day as they not only meet new challenges, but succeed with great outcomes,” said Meri Armour, Le Bonheur president and CEO. “I have met and grown to love this beautiful family and am moved to tears that our surgeons and doctors have given their girls a new lease on life.”
“Le Bonheur’s medical team is like no other I have worked with throughout my medical career,” said Max Langham, MD, surgical team leader for the Ayeni twins. “To flawlessly execute an 18-hour surgery with this level of coordination proves we have some of the best physicians and surgeons in the world. Le Bonheur is among the world’s elite children’s hospitals, which is wonderful for parents everywhere and especially for those living here in Memphis.”
The Ayeni twins remain at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital where they will continue to recover and receive rehabilitation therapy before returning with their family to Nigeria.
Photo Credit: (Lisa W. Buser/Le Bonheur Children Hospital via AP)