Doctors perform complex surgery to separate parasitic twin from infant born with four legs and two spines

CHICAGO (WSVN) — A Chicago-area hospital says they successfully performed a complex surgery to separate a parasitic twin from a baby girl, who was born with four legs and two spines.

Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, performed the six-hour surgery on 10-month-old Dominique, who was born with a parasitic twin attached to her neck and back.

“A parasitic twin is an identical twin that fails to fully separate in development,” said John R. Ruge, a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital, to Reuters. “In other words, not another independent twin, but a twin that was dependent on her body system, such that Dominique’s heart and lungs provided the nourishment.”

Doctors said the infant, born in the Ivory Coast, was brought to the U.S. for surgery, and will be cared for by a foster family until she is healthy enough to return home.

Nancy Swabb has been looking after Dominique since her arrival in the U.S., and said they have been in continual communication with the baby’s family in Africa.

“We send a lot of photos and updates and so we know that Dominique’s family sees what she’s doing and seeing that she has two new teeth and she’s learning to wave and doing all sorts of special things,” Swabb told Reuters.

“She’s been a joy,” Swabb continued. “She has touched our hearts. She’s a member of our family. She’s pretty amazing.”