Conjoined twins Owen and Emmett Ezell were born July 15, 2013, weighing a combined 11 pounds, 15 ounces. They were joined from breastbone to belly button, but after a successful operation to separate them and their subsequent release from the hospital Wednesday the twins are embarking on a new life.
The conjoined twins were born sharing several organs, including their liver and bowels, and a further complication left their intestines outside of their bodies. At first, the parents, David and Jenni Ezell, were advised that the twins had little chance of survival. Several consultations later, however, they finally got another opinion. After determining the full extent of their connections, the 9-hour operation to separate them was performed August 24 at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. The newly-separated twins will be spending some time at an area rehabilitation center, and are reported to be doing very well. The boys are breathing on their own, with the assistance of a breathing tube in their trachea, and will be fed through tubes in their stomachs until they can learn to eat on their own. Jenni has stated that the family feels “relief, joy, and elation.” The lead surgeon involved with the separation surgery, Dr. Tom Renard, reports that the twins are doing very well, are interacting with their environment, and in fact have more than doubled their size since birth. “These little guys are definitely survivors,” he said.
But now that the formerly conjoined twins have been released from the hospital, their new life will begin in earnest. In the weeks and months ahead, their parents will spend much of their time learning to manage their feeding tubes, clean their breathing tubes, operate the ventilator and coach the boys through their rehabilitation exercises. The twins are already exhibiting two distinct and different personalities, the parents say. Owen is more aware and more easily excitable, while his brother Emmett is more relaxed and mellow. They are easy to tell apart, David explains, because Owen’s eyes are usually more open and alert, while Emmett’s are more closed, more at ease. Still, the path ahead for Jenni and David is a long and difficult one, but from the beginning they were determined to have their babies and to help them survive in the face of all the hardships ahead. “We are about to face some serious challenges,” David said.
Eventually the babies will be released from the rehabilitation center and will finally get to go home. There they will finally be under the same roof with their brothers, 2-year-old Liam and 7-year-old Ethan, and who knows what fun and wonderful mayhem they will all cause together. Jenni jokes that she expects Ethen, the eldest brother, will help them when it comes to diaper duty, but she admits she is not completely sure that he will be on board with the plan.
Twins Owen and Emmett, formerly conjoined twins but now each fully their own separate baby, will now have a new and interesting life ahead. While they are expected to be just fine in the long run, their path will not always be easy. But with their parents at their side, and with each other’s support as well, there will be no hardship they cannot overcome.
By Peter Barreda