Formerly conjoined twins to leave hospital, continue recovery
(CBS/AP) Formerly conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia should return home to the Dominican Republic by Christmas, their doctors say. The toddlers are currently recovering from separation surgery in Virginia.
For the nearly daylong surgery on Nov. 8, doctors at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University divided the twins' liver, pancreas, and other shared organs, and reconstructed their abdominal walls.
How are the twins doing?
"They are enjoying life now that they're separated," their mother, Lisandra Sanatis, said. "They enjoy seeing themselves as individuals."
But they're still getting accustomed to exploring their surroundings separately, and stay near each other and hold hands when they walk.
Dr. David Lanning, a surgeon and head of the girls' medical team, says both children have been recovering well.
Maria, the smaller of the two, weighs about 19 pounds, and Teresa weighs about 26 pounds. The disparity in their weight, caused by the configuration of their small intestines and blood flow from the liver, will gradually even out, Lanning said.
Maria's pancreas is slow to produce digestive enzymes, so she is taking replacement enzymes. Teresa is undergoing treatment on the incision where the girls were separated.
After being in Richmond for several months now, Sanatis says she and her daughters are more than ready to leave the confines of the hospital and are anxious to return to their family in their native country. "We're missing our family, and the girls miss their little brother, Lisander," she said.
The family also hasn't acquired a taste for American food - including hospital meals - and they order takeout Dominican dishes, including traditional beans and rice.
The girls were scheduled to leave the hospital Friday. But they're not heading back to the Dominican Republic yet - the toddlers will remain in Richmond as they undergo therapy to relearn walking and otherwise reorient their movements now that they're no longer attached.
Conjoined twins Maria & Teresa Tapia: Before and after
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