Nearly a year after being separated, formerly-conjoined twin sisters got a special send-off at the hospital where they had the life-changing surgery.
Scarlett and Ximena Hernandez-Torres were celebrated by the staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Monday night as their family prepared them to finally head home after nearly two years being treated or getting rehab there, hospital officials said.
The girls were born in May 2015 and were rushed to Driscoll Children's Hospital as newborns because they were conjoined. They have been either patients at the hospital or living nearby for rehab for virtually their entire lives. The hospital and the girls' family had a celebration on Monday to say goodbye before the move back to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
“We are delighted that the twins are doing great," Dr. Haroon Patel, a pediatric surgeon who helped separate the girls, said in a statement. "We are happy that they are going home to their loved ones, and will miss taking care of them here in Corpus Christi."
During their going-away party, the girls got to play on a special playground at the hospital and spend time with the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who treated them when they were still conjoined and also after the surgery as they went through rehabilitation.
"Since discharge from Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the children have been seen multiple times per week by physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology staff," Susan T. Fields, director of rehabilitation services at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, said in a statement Monday. "They have progressed well and are learning how to navigate their world as independent toddlers."
The girls will still be seen at satellite clinics closer to their home, hospital officials said.
The girls were born joined at the waist, sharing a colon and bladder, according to the Driscoll Children's Hospital. They were born as triplets with a third sister who is not conjoined -- a 1 in 50 million occurrence.
Scarlett and Ximena were separated last April during a 12-hour surgery with dozens of medical personnel present during the operation, according to hospital officials. Doctors used a special scanner called a "spy camera" during the surgery to understand the complicated blood flow between the girls and help them stay healthy during the long ordeal. Additionally, doctors used a 3-D model from a specialized MRI, designed to help them map out the surgery.
The girls' mother, Silvia Hernandez, said through an interpreter last year that she could already see the girls' personalities coming through.
"Scarlett likes to dance, sing and she smiles a lot," Hernandez said. "Ximena is most of the time sleeping but she smiles a lot."