Formerly-Conjoined Twin AmieLynn Discharged, Joins JamieLynn and Family at Home
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By Eline Wiggins
Formerly-conjoined twin AmieLynn Finley went home on Friday for the first time to join her twin sister JamieLynn, parents and the rest of her family.
In January, JamieLynn and AmieLynn made history as the first conjoined twins to be surgically separated at Cook Children’s. The girls were conjoined at the chest and shared a liver. Their 11-hour surgery involving a team of 25 medical professionals, including six surgeons, made headlines around the world.
Amie, the quiet twin compared to feisty JamieLynn, has made huge progress even though her journey has been more difficult. While JamieLynn went home on March 21, Amie stayed at the Cook Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to recover from a recent surgery to improve her chest incision and create more space for her heart, diaphragm and lungs.
On April 7, Amie left the hospital in a car seat with her parents, Amanda and James Finley, JamieLynn, two older siblings and cousin. The family shared hugs and tears with the girls’ care team as they loaded their stuff for the last time in their minivan. Today, the whole family is together, in their own home, at last.
“This is kind of the beginning again,” James said as he cradled JamieLynn. “Surgery was one beginning and now we’re going home to another beginning.”
“It’s definitely a weight lifted,” Amanda said. “I’m excited and happy, it’s a lot of emotions. We still have a long way to go.”
Both girls will have some work to do, including rehabilitation, to help them reach their full potential. When the twins were conjoined, Amie developed scoliosis as she had a natural inclination to lean back and pull away from JamieLynn. The girls’ care team hope they will grow up healthy, happy and independent young ladies with their amazing family.
“It is a blessing to watch the girls heal through a major operation, and see the various milestones such as being weaned off of their ventilators, then oxygen; watch as their intestines start to tolerate increasing feeds and then watch as they learn to feed orally,” said José Iglesias, M.D., FACS, Medical Director and Lead Surgeon at Cook Children’s.
“Both girls are so tough!” said Brianne Galvan, RN, the girls' nurse in the NICU. “They went through some pretty tough times but came out smiling in the end. It was amazing for me to see their resilience and to be a part of their story! I will miss their sweet faces and smiles tremendously!”
Amanda and James have spent a lot of time at the NICU since the girls were transferred there shortly after they were born in October. At their Fort Worth home, the girls will finally share the same room again.
“I’m so excited for the girls to be able to assimilate into their new home with their entire family 24 hours a day. My wish for them is that they get to experience all of the normal joys of family life that they haven’t been able to experience in the hospital,” said Neonatologist Fran Lynch, M.D. “These girls are truly remarkable and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in their lives moving forward.”
Conjoined twins are estimated to occur in only 1-in-200,000 live births. JamieLynn and AmieLynn are omphalopagus twins, meaning they were joined at the abdomen and shared one or more internal organs.
“With so many steps in their journey it reminds us how big and how great our Cook’s Children’s family is to help them achieve milestone after milestone,” Iglesias said. “I’m proud of the loving and attentive family and proud of an amazing team is probably the best summary I have.”
For those wishing to assist the Finley family in this new chapter of their lives, a fund has been created at EECU in Fort Worth. The family also has a baby registry at Walmart.
EECU Fund for Amie and Jamie
While this is an exciting next step for the twins, the Finleys have a long road ahead of them.
EECU Community Foundation has generously opened a fund to help the family with all of their needs.
Click here to learn more or visit any EECU Financial Center.
Formerly-Conjoined Twin JamieLynn Discharged from Cook Children's NICU, Sister AmieLynn Stays to Recover (checkupnewsroom.com)
‘We Did It’: Conjoined Twin Girls Separated at Cook Children’s Medical Center Make History (checkupnewsroom.com)
Q&A: Inside the Historic Conjoined Twin Separation Surgery with Jose Iglesias, M.D. (checkupnewsroom.com)