Sabuco conjoined twins Angelina and Angelica on the road to full recovery after surgery that separates them
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In Manila where she was then living, Mrs. Ginady Sabuco at 7-month pregnant learned that the babies she was carrying with were joined at the chest and abdomen.
The news was hard for her to bear because at the time she and her son Vincent were miles away from her husband Fidel who was at San Jose, California, USA earning a living.
The conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina were born in Manila in August. 2009. Indeed the twins were joined in the chest and abdomen when born. Their livers, diaphragms, breast bones, chest and abdominal wall muscles are fused. Each of them has her own heart, intestine, kidney, brain and stomach.
On September 7, 2010 the family immigrated to the Bay Area in San Jose, California from Manila, Philippines. But while still in the Philippines, they contacted Packard children’s Hospital at Stanford before their trip to the U.S. They first had an audience with Dr. Hartman in December of 2010.
The twins before their arrival in the U.S. were required to undergo standard infant and toddler checkups and updated vaccinations.
After a couple of months stay in the U.S., doctors evaluated and did preliminary procedures and tests on the twins. Then after convincing test results, doctors said the twins were ready for separation surgery. However, they warned that if one of the twins dies, the other will follow suit.
On that fateful day, Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at Stanford University’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, a team of 20 surgeons led by Dr. Gary Hartman assisted by 15-20 operating staff did a successful 10-hour surgery to separate Angelina from Angelica Sabuco.
After the operation, Genady, the twins’ mother, with tears of happiness said this is a dream come true. She thanked God for all the beautiful things that happened, saying words are not enough to express the family's feelings for the fruitful operation of conjoined twins, Angelica and Angelina.
Dr. Matias Bruzoni remarked, "the liver was the toughest part. Cutting the liver was the toughest part of the surgery, as it carried the risk of incurring a lot of blood loss, but even that was survived by the twins.’”
About the Sabuco twins, "They're very resilient," led surgeon Dr. Hartman said. "The long-term prognosis is that we would expect a happy, healthy set of girls. We don't see any barriers to a complete recovery."
Spokesperson of the hospital Reena Mukamal told the media that the twins are stable and progressing well with their recovery. Over the next 2 to 3 days, it is expected the girls will be breathing on their own.
Ruby Sabuco-Collins, aunt of the twins, said that Angelina has already come to her senses and seems to be looking for something.
Sabuco-Collins explained that Angelina got used to seeing Angelica in front of her, so it looked like she was restless not finding her.
Aware of the situation, the hospital staff told Ginady, to lay beside Angelina to calm her down.
The other twin, Angelica was still sedated.
All members of the surgery team, nurses, Sabuco family, relatives, friends, including the twins’ elder brother Vincent and their father Fidel were all smiles and very thankful to Almighty God for the safe and successful separation of the conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina.