When Anias and Jadon McDonald were born, they were joined at the head. Their parents and the doctors around them knew that they would need to be separated before the age of two in order to have a chance at survival. Their survival was made possible on Oct. 13, by Dr. James Goodrich, Dr. Oren Trepper, and their team of over thirty other nurses and doctors at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.
Jadon was able to leave the surgery room first around four hours before Anias, due to it taking longer to reconstruct his skull. His skull cap eventually had to be removed in order to stop infections, and he will now wear a protective helmet until the age of seven, when bone can be placed there to restore the skull cap. Jadon experienced paralysis on his left side after the surgery but has since gained full mobility back. Meanwhile, Anias experienced seizures, but they were corrected with medication.
The twins were set to leave the hospital shortly after Thanksgiving in order to go to rehab and left their hospital room for the first time for a non-medical reason on Dec. 13. Lining the hallway to their going away party, the dozens of doctors and nurses that took care of the twins during their recovery. They looked on with glee as the boys were wheeled down the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) in the red wagon that holds much meaning for the family.
When the twins were first born, their parents wheeled them around in the red wagon to take them to their different doctor and therapy appointments. Once the boys got bigger as they got older, they were unable to fit, and their parents were unable to use the wagon. Now that they are separated, they can be pushed in their beloved wagon again.
Jadon and Anias left the hospital on Dec. 14, to go a nearby rehabilitation center to start the many long months of rehab ahead of them. They have never lifted their heads or crawled, as a normal one year old would, and must start a grueling process of starting a new life as separate, individual boys. The head plastic surgeon that operated on the McDonald boys, Oren Trepper, says that “although the twins have had some setbacks during their recovery, they are right on track, if not ahead of schedule.”
Nicole and Christian McDonald, the twins’ parents, spoke at their going away party and said that “they will never be able to be half as grateful as the boys. They are thankful to everyone at Montefiore Medical Center for giving them, Jadon, and Anias a hope and chance for a normal life.”