Owen and Emmett Ezell, formerly conjoined twins, have left the Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, separately, after successful surgeries last summer.
Their mother, Jenni Ezell, said the family is feeling “relief, joy, and elation” after a very difficult time, following the birth of the babies and the news that they might not survive.
The Ezell twins were born conjoined at the hipbone and shared several important organs, including the intestine and liver. The team of doctors caring for Owen and Emmett told their parents that there weren’t any guarantees of long term survival and if they did, they might have to undergo several painful corrective surgeries.
At nine-months of age, the former conjoined twins, however, have blossomed and will be spending time at a Dallas rehab facility for weeks or months, one last step before they can finally go home to join brothers Liam, 2, and Ethan, 7.
The twins were born in August and were successfully separated six weeks later, during a nine-hour surgery in which a team of specialists split the intestine and a shared blood vessel in the liver, the most dangerous part of the procedure.
Dr. Tom Renard, the lead pediatric separation surgeon stated that the twins are thriving and alert, following the surgery and weigh more than double what they did at birth.
Even though infection is always a risk, Dr. Renard is encouraged by their progress.
“You can never predict what can happen but these little guys are definitely survivors,” he said.
The formerly conjoined twins are no longer fed via IV and are now fed through tubes in their abdomens.
Officials say Owen and Emmett have been removed from a breathing machine and now use a trachea tube to receive nutrients. The twins’ father, David Ezell says the family is relieved the boys are leaving the hospital, but they are also nervous about what lies ahead.
“I’ll finally have my family together but we are about to face some serious challenges. The really frightening life-or-death stuff is behind us but now we worry how about how we are going to pull the rest of it off.”
While the twins stay at the rehab center the Ezells will go from worrying about them being conjoined to learning how to clean the tracheal tube, use the home ventilator, and work on rehab exercises, while changing diapers.
Dr. Renard explained that conjoined twins are rare and occur in one out of 50,000 to 200,000 births and the rate of survival for these cases is typically about 40 to 50 percent.
David and Jenni discovered their twins were conjoined on March 1, when she was 17-weeks pregnant, and at that time doctors gave them little hope the babies would survive.
[Images courtesy of Jenni and David Ezell]