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Formerly Conjoined Twins Leave Packard Children's Hospital; Heading Home to Costa Rica
Date:2/4/2008

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Formerly conjoined twins Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias have left Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and are now home in Costa Rica. According to hospital officials, the girls left Packard Children's last Wednesday (30) and went to Southern California to visit Mending Kids International, the organization that helped sponsor the girls' trip. Today (4), they flew home to San Jose, Costa Rica, where an entire nation will celebrate their successful return.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080204/AQM168)

The two-year-olds were connected at the chest and abdomen prior to their arrival at Packard Children's last July. They shared a liver and their hearts were fused. After months of preparation, they were successfully separated on November 12 in a nine-hour procedure. Several weeks of follow-up care and therapy have enabled doctors to declare the girls "happy, healthy and safe" to return to Costa Rica.

"The first thing I'll do is embrace the rest of my family," said the girls' mother, Maria Elizabeth Arias, who has nine other children. "Then I am going to start my life over again."

Lead surgeon Gary Hartman, MD, had estimated before the procedure that the chance of both Yurelia and Fiorella surviving the surgery was about 50 percent.

Pediatric and cardiothoracic surgeons were joined in the separation effort by pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists, pediatric plastic surgeons and many other representatives of nursing, respiratory therapy, cardiac bypass, cardiovascular intensive care and more. Child life specialists, social workers, interpreters and chaplains also worked with the twins throughout their stay at Packard Children's.

Surgeons and physicians at the hospital donated their time and expertise to treat Yurelia and Fiorella. In addition, Packard Children's covered the expense
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SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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