A 10-month-old girl from West Africa underwent a different surgery earlier this month at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge after she was born with two spines and four legs. Dominique was born in the Ivory Coast with a parasitical conjoined twin meaning part of her not-fully-developed twin’s body was protruding from Dominique’s back and neck. Vicari said a 3-D model of Dominique was developed so medical experts could create the steps that would be taken during the operation.
A resident of the Edgebrook neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Nancy Swabb acts as Dominique’s “host mom” until the infant come backs to Africa next month, when she’s expected to be medically cleared. Swabb said, “She is bubbly and adorable, and very receptive to love and affection, and we are just completely smitten by her.” Swabb said her family picked up Dominique at O’Hare International Airport on Feb. 5, and once she posted on Facebook that her family was having another baby in the house if only transiently, neighbors came through with donations of diapers, formula, a stroller, and more. She and her husband, Tim, have two daughters of their own: 9-year old Mara and 15-year old Lena.
Five days after the extra limbs were removed, Dominique came home from the hospital. “She’s sitting up, and playing with my kids, like nothing’s ever happened. She’s amazing,” Swabb said. Dr. Frank Vicari, a pediatric plastic surgeon for Advocate Health Care, was part of the team that removed the extra legs at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge two weeks ago said, “It was like having a half-person attached to your upper spinal cord in the back of your neck.” The second spine was left inside Dominique’s body. A team of more than 50 medical professionals was part of the operation on March 8. Doctors said Dominique is expected to live a normal life after the successful surgery.
“It’s truly amazing. I mean, you can say the words, but unless and until you see it and try to figure out what in the heck is going on, it’s pretty impressive”, said Vicari. “It’s very exciting. Treating kids, these are the kinds of things you live for in a sense.” He said that a 3-D model of Dominique was formulated so medical experts could create the steps that would be taken during the operation. A resident of the Edgebrook neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Nancy Swabb, has been acting as Dominique’s “host mom” until the infant returns to Africa next month when she’s expected to be medically cleared.