Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Conjoined twins separated in complex 30-hour operation at Vatican hospital

Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital

Bambino Gesù | Twitter | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/12/20

This successful procedure is a first for the medical books.

If there’s one thing life has taught us, it’s that miracles can occur in all shapes and forms. For 2-year-old conjoined twins Ervina and Prefina, the operation that successfully separated them last week was a result of the miraculous hands and coordination of 30 medical staff at the Vatican hospital.

On Tuesday, the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in the Vatican city released a statement explaining how the little girls from the Central African Republic had survived the grueling 18-hour operation that had actually taken place on June 5. The doctors reported that the toddlers, who were joined at the skull, are expected to make a complete recovery.

Pope Francis - Visit - Bambino Gesù - Rome

Read more:
Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Bambino Gesù children’s hospital

The complexity of the surgery was due to the fact that the girls shared a skull and a large number of blood vessels — the technical term being “total posterior craniopagus.”

According to there has been no similarly successful procedure recorded anywhere else in the world. Described by the team as addressing “one of the rarest and most complex forms of fusion,” the planning for the surgery took a whole year.

The little girls were given the opportunity to undergo the surgery at the Vatican hospital back in 2018, when the hospital’s president, Mariella Enoc, made a visit to the Central African Republic. After coming to Italy with their mother, Ermine, the girls underwent two initial procedures in May and June, 2019.

The head of neurosurgery at the hospital shared how this “unrepeatable experience … was a very ambitious goal and we did everything to achieve it, with passion, optimism and joy.”

Thanks to the skills of the medical team the girls should be able to grow up with all their motor and cognitive functions fully intact. Their mom expressed her gratitude and her desire for Pope Francis to baptize her daughters.

“Ervina and Prefina were born twice. If we had stayed in Africa I don’t know what fate they would have had,” Ermine shared, hoping her girls would be able to go out into the world and help others by becoming doctors.

Read more:
101-year old Brazilian woman attributes healing from COVID-19 to a miracle of the Eternal Father

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.