History has been made in Haiti.
A surgical team led by Haiti-born surgeon, Dr. Henri Ford, completed the country’s first successful separation of conjoined twins, CBS News reported. On Friday, Marian and Michelle Dave-Nouche, a pair of 6-month-old sisters previously connected at the abdomen, left Haiti’s University Hospital of Mirebalais on Friday in two separate cribs.
"It's extraordinary to see them lying on their backs," the girls’ mother, Manousheka, told the news outlet.
The surgery was performed on May 22 by an 18-person team led by Ford, chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), CBS News reported. Since the earthquake shook Haiti in 2010, Ford has returned to provide medical care more than 20 times, and was the natural choice for this risky operation. The 7-hour procedure was completed with only a few minor complications, according to a press release, and the girls were breathing independently just 48 hours after surgery.
"We now have two babies, two independent living organisms," Dr. Ford said to CBS News following the surgery. "There is no satisfactory substitute for excellence!"
The girls are actually triplets -- born on November 24, 2014 with their sister Tamar, to parents Manousheka and David Bernard. When an earthquake rocked Haiti five years ago, Bernard was trapped beneath rubble for seven days before he was rescued, the news outlet reported, and this successful procedure has proven to be another happy miracle for the family. According to the press release, by performing the procedure in Haiti, rather than Ford’s primary practice in Los Angeles, the twins could benefit from being close to their parents, and the surgery was less expensive.
The extraordinary procedure was also important to Dr. Ford, who left Haiti at the age of 14 to go on to become an Ivy League-trained pediatric surgeon, CBS News reported. "It's extremely gratifying," Ford said. "There is something special about coming to Haiti to operate on Haitian children with Haitian physicians, because I feel that I'm contributing to the future of this country."
Over the next few weeks, Michelle and Marian will have physical therapy to help strengthen neck muscles weakened after single direction for such a long time, the press release reported, but are expected to make a healthy recovery.