VALHALLA, N.Y. (February 6, 2017) – Just two weeks after undergoing a groundbreaking, 21-hour separation surgery, formerly conjoined twin girls Ballenie and Bellanie Camacho celebrated their first birthday this past weekend at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) and the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley and Fairfield County. The rare and complex surgery, which spanned from January 17 until the early morning hours of January 18, was the first of its kind ever performed at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.
Ballenie and Bellanie, whose actual birthday is February 4, enjoyed a party hosted by Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital that included balloons, presents and two birthday cakes. On hand to celebrate were proud parents Laurilin Celadilla Marte and Marino Abel Camacho and hospital staff, many of whom played a role in the separation procedure.
Since the surgery Ballenie and Bellanie, nicknamed las maripositas (the little butterflies) by their parents, have been recovering well at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, graduating from the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit to its inpatient floor just a few days after the surgery. Ballenie and Bellanie’s recovery at the hospital continues and has included routine procedures to aid their healing.
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital’s doctors, nurses and other pediatric specialists have been thrilled with the twins’ recovery progress and indicated that if they continue at this pace, Ballenie and Bellanie could be discharged by early March.
“Ballenie and Bellanie are continuing to recover well from the surgery and adapting extraordinarily well to their newfound ‘independence,’” said Samir Pandya, MD, a pediatric surgeon at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital who, along with Whitney McBride, MD, led the surgical teams.
“The girls’ successful recovery course is a direct result of the skill and dedication of the clinical staff here at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital,” said McBride. “While some important challenges do lie ahead of them, we fully expect Ballenie and Bellanie to enjoy their childhood years and have full, active lives.”
Birthday parties are a regular occurrence at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Serious illness and injury sometimes require hospital stays over special celebrations, like birthdays, and hospital staff helps children and their families commemorate these special days with parties and other forms of recognition.
“When Ballenie and Bellanie were born a year ago, their health was in question and their future was uncertain,” said Camacho, Ballenie’s and Bellanie’s father. “After the procedure at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, the outlook for Ballenie and Bellanie is now bright. The party was as much a celebration of their first birthday as it was about the wonderful possibilities that now lie ahead of them. We couldn’t be happier or more thankful.”
“We were looking forward to Ballenie and Bellanie’s first birthday with so much anticipation,” said Marte, the twins’ mother. “It was as if my ‘little butterflies’ were born again a year later, only this time without the condition that challenged them. As a mother and father you want the best for your children and with the help of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, our families and the community that has supported us, so many positive things lie ahead of them.”
Ballenie and Bellanie were connected at the sacrum, a triangular bone at the base of the spine. They had gastrointestinal, urinary, neurologic and orthopedic connections as well as a shared branch of the hypogastric artery, which is the main supplier of blood to the pelvic region, hips, thighs and reproductive organs. More than 50 medical professionals collaborated in the two-day, marathon surgery for which there was months of planning and preparation.
About Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, a Member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is the children’s hospital for New York’s Hudson Valley region and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Located in Valhalla, NY, this 136-bed advanced pediatrics facility cares for the region’s most seriously ill and injured children including those in need of cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, hematology and oncology treatments, organ transplants and other specialty pediatric services. Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital is also home to the area’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Level I pediatric trauma and burn care programs and its Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. For more information on Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, interested parties can visit www.WestchesterMedicalCenter.org/MFCH or follow the hospital at www.Facebook.com/MFCHatWMC and www.Twitter.com/MFCHatWMC.
About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit www.WMCHealth.org.