Conjoined Twins Separated in Florida

Connor and Carter spent their first five months connected from chest to tummy.

ByABC News
May 12, 2015, 11:07 AM

— -- When the Mirabals twins went into the operating room at 5 a.m., their parents didn't know if they would be getting both baby boys back.

Connor and Carter were joined from the sternum to the lower abdomen, sharing a liver and a small intestine and bile ducts. Before the operation, their parents and some nurses lined up for good luck kisses.

"I told them that I love them and that they'll be OK and that they're going to be very well taken care of," Michelle Brantley, their mother, told First Coast News, ABC's Jacksonville, Florida, affiliate.

An illustration showing conjoined twins Connor and Carter, who were separated by a team of nearly 20 doctors and nurses over a 14-hour surgery in Florida.

It took 12 hours and a team of more than a dozen doctors and nurses from several hospitals to separate them, but they did it.

When the news came, the waiting room full of friends and family erupted into tears.

"Conjoined twins are a challenge," said Dr. Daniel Robie, chief of pediatric surgery at Nemours Children's Specialty Care Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, where the twins were separated. "They're known as probably the pinnacle of surgical complexity."

Because the twins shared important organs, the team of surgeons had to figure out how to give each twin enough of each of them when they were separated, Robie told ABC News.

He said the boys spent their first five months of life in the hospital, and that Connor would sleep with his right arm above Carter's head.

Now, they're back in the intensive care unit in separate rooms, where they'll spend about a month recovering, Robie said. He said sooner or later, they'd hear one another and realize they're not that far apart.

"Connor and Carter should be able to live out normal lives," Robie said. "This will be a distant memory for them. They'll just hear stories from their parents and grandmas about what happened when they were born."

One of the conjoined twins that was separated by a team of nearly 20 doctors and nurses over a 14-hour surgery in Florida.