Separated twins leave Philly hospital to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with family

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The Delaney family posed on Monday at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before they left for their North Carolina home.

Erin and Abby Delaney, the twins born conjoined at their heads who were successfully separated in June at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, left with their parents Heather and Riley Delaney Monday to spend Thanksgiving at home in North Carolina.

Though Abby was just discharged from the hospital on Monday, Erin has been staying with their mom at the Ronald McDonald House, and receiving daily therapy at the hospital with her sister. Dad Riley has been traveling between work in Mooresville, N.C. and Philadelphia.

“Riley and I are so grateful for the care our girls have received here and so excited to take them home – just in time for the holidays,” said Heather Delaney, in a statement issued by the hospital.

Erin and Abby were born on July 24, 2016, at CHOP’s Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit. The sisters arrived 10 weeks premature and were joined at the top of their heads. Their parents learned during an ultrasound 11 weeks into Heather’s pregnancy that the twins were conjoined. She moved into CHOP’s special maternity unit at 27 weeks so she could be closely monitored.

On June 6 this year, a multidisciplinary team of about 30 members led by neurosurgeon Gregory Heuer and plastic surgeon Jesse Taylor successfully completed the separation surgery. The operation lasted about 11 hours. It was the 24th time CHOP surgeons had separated a pair of conjoined twins, but it was hospital’s first craniopagus — joined at the head — pair.

The hospital team, which Heather said “has become like family,” will continue to monitor the twins as they grow. They will require additional surgeries as they mature, but their care team is optimistic about their progress and their long-term potential.

“The girls are inspiring,” said Heather. “As their parents, it is very neat for Riley and me to have a front-row seat to this and watch them overcome these incredible obstacles. We cannot wait to see what their future holds!”