Montefiore in the News
Aguirre Twins Visit CHAM For Check-Ups as First Anniversary of Their Surgical Separation Approaches
New York City, NY (July 13, 2005) – Formerly conjoined Filipino twins Carl and Clarence Aguirre visited The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) today for regular check-ups just short of the first anniversary of their surgical separation, August 4, 2005.
Doctors pronounced the boys "absolutely fit". Carl was sleepy and stayed stretched out in his stroller most of the morning. Clarence, on the other hand, was very active playing games and practicing his "hi-fives" with nurses and others he recognized from his medical team at CHAM.
The CHAM surgeons who led the team that separated the boys, James T. Goodrich, MD, director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and David Staffenberg, MD, chief of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, today led efforts to show them off during their visit, pushing Clarence and Carl side-by-side in their strollers down several corridors. They visited the team of hospital staffers who cared for the boys during the historic series of surgeries at CHAM that untimately resulted in their successful separation last August.
Staffers on several floors at CHAM were happy to see the boys and surprised at how big they have grown. "They’ve grown considerably since they first arrived in the US two years ago," said Robert Marion, MD, the boys' pediatrician at CHAM. "When they landed from Los Angeles at Westchester County Airport on April 10, 2003, they had a combined weight of eighteen-point-five pounds," said Dr. Marion. "Carl now weighs just over 28 pounds and Clarence is 26 pounds,” he said.
Pediatric Gastroenterologist Anthony Loizides, MD, examined the boys and said he is very pleased with their progress. “Carl and Clarence are eating on their own, which is a great thing," said Dr. Loizides. "We really want to see the stomach feeding tubes, now being used mostly for medications, removed soon. They really don't need them anymore!"
As Carl took yet another nap, Clarence -- like toddlers everywhere -- nibbled on cheesy poofs, spurning his mother’s offer of yogurt. He also seemed to enjoy looking at himself in a mirror offered by a hospital staffer.
In addition to their GI and general check-ups, Carl was given another hearing test as part of a continuing effort to discover any physical cause for delayed speech development. "The tubes we inserted into both boys' ears a while back have definitely helped clear up their hearing," said Sanjay Parikh, MD, pediatric Ear Nose and Throat specialist at CHAM who performed the tube insertions on both boys. "Since Carl's verbal skills seem to be lagging behind Clarence's, we wanted to examine him again," he said. "While Clarence now says additional new words such as 'Carl', 'bubbles', 'momma', 'up', and 'baby' very clearly, Carl does not,Â” said Dr. Parikh. "We are still working on reasons why."
Everyone involved with the boys' care at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore and at Blythedale Children's Hospital, where they have been receiving intense physical and speech therapy, are anxiously awaiting the "big moment" when the boys begin to take their first unassisted steps.
"It looks like it will happen any time now," said Dr. Goodrich, holding Clarence's hand. "It is a moment their mother Arlene, our medical team and well-wishers from around the world have been looking forward to for a very long time," said Dr. Goodrich. "That will be a day to celebrate."