Formerly conjoined twin released from ICU 

One of two formerly conjoined 2-year-old twin sisters at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto has been released from intensive care, the hospital reported today. Yurelia Rocha-Arias was released from the hospital's cardiovascular intensive care unit Tuesday and moved to an intermediate intensive care bed, according to the hospital. "Everyone's thrilled that they're progressing so well," cardiovascular intensive care Dr. Gail Wright said. "Moving out of intensive care is a very big step."

Yurelia's sister Fiorella, who returned to surgery Nov. 19 for minor chest reconstruction and skin closure repair work, is expected to join her by the end of this week, the hospital reported.

The Costa Rican twins, who were joined at the abdomen and chest, were successfully separated during a nine-hour surgery at the hospital on Nov. 12.

Yurelia had a life-threatening congenital anomaly repaired during heart surgery on Nov. 14.

Throughout the twins' recovery process, a multidisciplinary team of cardiovascular specialists has been closely monitoring them, and therapists have been working with the girls to strengthen their muscles, help them learn to walk and adjust to their separation, according to the hospital.

"All in all, there really have been very few surprises in this case and the girls' recovery is on track," said Dr. Gary Hartman, the lead surgeon during the separation surgery.

The hospital released a statement from the girls' mother, Maria Elizabeth Arias, thanking hospital staff and those who have been supporting them.

"We so appreciate the thoughts, prayers and support of the people here and in Costa Rica," Arias said.

Both Arias and the girls' father, Jose Luis, have been at the 2-year-olds' bedside each day, according to the hospital.

— Bay City News

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