Now 12-years-old, once-conjoined twins Carl and Clarence are living happy lives after being separated 10 years ago.
In 2004, the then conjoined twins underwent surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Their mother, Arlene Aguirre, was told that one of the conjoined twins would most likely die.
“When they were born, the doctors at home told me, ‘You have to choose which one is to live,'” said Aguirre. “I said, ‘I cannot choose that.’ The doctors here did not ask me to choose.”
Miraculously, however, both twins are alive and happy today. They are 12-years-old, and are no longer joined at the top of their heads. If they had not been separated, doctors have said, they might not be alive today.
“If they hadn’t come to us when they did, they would have just withered away and died,” said Dr. Robert Marion, the boys’ pediatrician. “I am extremely proud of having been a part of this. I’m a little disappointed with some of the outcome but, clearly, to see how these kids have survived and are for the most part thriving, is really wonderful.”
Although Clarence is able to play video games and dance to Michael Jackson tunes, his twin Carl is not so well off. Unfortunately, because the boys were connected at the skull and shared bit of brain between them, Carl has since experienced some degeneration of his right parietal lobe.
This has impacted Carl’s left arm and leg, making it so he has limited use of those limbs. He also has seizures, though medication has helped him a lot. On top of that, Carl’s speech was also affected, and he can only say a few words at a time.
Despite that, however, Carl gets a lot of help from his friends and family. Aguirre mentioned that Clarence likes to help his twin out.
“He feels like he’s the big brother. He likes to read to Carl, and he’s very patient,” she said.
Currently, both boys wear helmets to protect their skulls, which are not fully patched up yet. They will be getting more surgery on their skulls when they are older, doctors have explained.
Even though Aguirre has had to take on multimillion dollar costs and a lot of stress, she has no regrets about separating her once-conjoined twins.
“I did the right thing,” she explained.
The twins celebrate two birthdays a year. The first is when they were born – April 21, and the second is the day they were separated – August 4.