North Carolina

Conjoined NC twins among youngest separated, hospital says. Here’s how they’re doing

Two-year-old Erin Delaney loves music, and her sister Abby gives the “biggest smiles” when she spends time with people, their mom Heather said in a video the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia posted online Wednesday. The North Carolina girls, born as conjoined twins, were separated more than one year ago and are “thriving,” the hospital reports.

“They are doing so good,” Heather Delaney said in the video. “Seems like every week, they’re doing something new and exciting. And just to watch them do that is really fun.”

The Delaney twins were born with a rare condition and at 10 months old were among the youngest twins joined at the head to be “successfully separated,” according to CHOP. Now, their mom said the girls are making progress.

“The thing I’m looking forward to is for them to walk,” Heather Delaney said. “I can’t wait to see them be able to run around with the other kids and not seem like they’re any different. To me as a mom, I can’t wait to see them be able to enjoy that and be able to do all the things that everybody else can do.”

The Delaneys live in Mooresville, about 30 miles north of Charlotte, according to CHOP. The girls visit the hospital every few months and go to therapy for speech and other skills, Delaney said.

The girls were separated during an 11-hour surgery in June 2017, the hospital said. Doctors planned the surgery using “computer-aided drafting software” and modeling, according to a New England Journal of Medicine report published Thursday. They also used tools to separate the twins’ skulls and “map the interconnected blood vessels,” the hospital reports.

“The most difficult part for these girls were they shared some really important big blood vessels, so having to be able to separate those and having the brain recover after we did the separation was really the hardest part,” CHOP neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Heuer said in a WCAX report.

Children with the girls’ condition who are separated at younger ages heal faster, Heuer said in the hospital’s online post. The girls will face reconstructive surgery, Delaney said.