A 10-month old baby underwent a special surgery on Sunday that sought to separate her from her parasitic twin. The baby had two extra legs and was presenting serious health problems, but thanks to the help of a charity organization, she was able to surpass the operation successfully and is in stable condition at the time.
The charity organization in charge of helping the baby is called Children’s Medical Mission West. This nonprofit organization is oriented to the transportation of kids from many parts of the world to areas where medical centers are willing to provide free assistance for them.
Through this organization, a woman called Nancy Swabb discovered the story of Dominique, a baby girl from the West African country Cote d’Ivoire, and offered help. The nonprofit was looking for a family to adopt Dominique since her relatives were offered free medical care in Park Ridge, Illinois, for two months. They urgently needed the help from a host family that wanted to take care of the baby for that time.
Swabb said that she decided to offer her help just a second after looking at the pictures of the baby on Facebook. “Those photos really captured my heart. She looked so sweet,” Swabb told CNN.
This baby girl did not have a normal conception process. She was born with a twin that did not develop entirely, but instead, it fused with Dominique’s body during the embryonic phase. Dominique was born with the presence of a parasitic twin, which is a rare condition that only has about 100 registered cases worldwide.
Dominique was born with several parts of the body of her twin attached to her back. Legs, waist, and feet grew on the back part of the baby while there was a second spine closely connected to the one that belongs to Dominique. Since the number of parasitic twins is so low, each case is often dubbed after the name of the patient.
Her lungs and heart were functioning to sustain two distinct lives, meaning that they had to work much harder than normally. Also, the constant (and natural) growing of the body parts of the twins would have caused permanent deformities and severe spinal pains.
Since the parasitic twin condition is that rare, the surgery procedure is also complicated. A body of medical exams that included MRI, an MRA, a CAT scan, and X-rays were needed to understand the baby’s full state. A team of more than 50 physicians was gathered to conduct the investigation and determine exactly what they had to do.
The team of doctors and surgeons was brought together by Dr. John Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon who has consistently worked with Children’s Medical Mission West organization before. Ruge said that this baby is still at risk, but that preoccupation from the family should be considerably lower now that the operation was conducted efficiently.
“It allowed us to come up with a plan of attack how we could safely and effectively remove this very complex part attached to this little baby’s spine and end up with a healthy and happy child at the end of the day,” said Dr. Frank Vicari, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Advocate’s Children Hospital.
Dominique got help at the precise moment
After Nancy Swabb had seen the Facebook publications, she realized that the medical center that was offering a contribution to Dominique was near her home. Therefore, she was immediately interested in helping this baby girl as soon as possible. She and her husband Tim were confident about their possibilities to help this harmed baby.
After they had got in touch with the Children’s Medical Mission West, they went through a selection process to confirm their actual possibilities of taking responsibility for this child. They confirmed that they could carry the baby to all her medical appointments and were accepted by the nonprofit.
Through the organization, the family of the baby was able to gather the funds necessary to cover Dominique’s flight to Illinois. However, both Tim and Nancy realized that they needed more things to provide the baby with all the correct attention.
Afterward, the Swabb family explained to their neighbors about the help they were providing to this African family and asked for any kind of assistance possible. Just after they asked for help, hundreds of diapers, wipes, clothes and even a brand new stroller were donated to the cause of little Dominique.
“She has become the community baby, and everyone has been really interested in her story. Baby Dominique is so affectionate and receives love so well, so we knew right away that she comes from a loving family,” Swabb said. “She’s bubbly, funny, spirited, full of smiles, and has the brightest, happy eyes.”