Twin sisters Erika and Eva Sandoval have met for the first time since their conjoined bodies were successfully separated in a risky surgery last week at a Stanford hospital.
On Monday afternoon, mother Aida Sandoval picked up toddler Erika from her own bed in the intensive-care unit of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and carried her to where Eva lay tangled in wires and bundled in blankets. Eva looked at her sister for a moment and then reached into Erika’s blankets to pull out a red truck to play with. While conjoined, Eva, the larger of the two girls, often pried toys and books from her sister’s hands or dragged her around while they crawled.
The 2-year-old twins, from Antelope, once shared a liver, bladder, some intestinal tract and a third leg, but now each girl has a full set of organs and one leg of her own. Extra skin from the third leg was used to create skin grafts for the large wounds that remained once the girls were separated.
The Dec. 6 surgery lasted 17 hours and involved 50 medical staff. Both twins are recovering well and breathing on their own, and they are expected to leave the intensive care unit in about one week, the hospital said in a statement.
The two girls had been recovering in different beds in the same hospital room and could not see each other well, according to a Stanford press release.
“It was such a thrill for us to see the girls next to one another again,” Aida Sandoval said in the statement.