University of Michigan doctors separate one-year-old conjoined twins in an 11-hour surgery


Pensacola, Fl

Doctors at the University of Michigan separated two one-year-old conjoined twin sisters.

Sarabeth and Amelia Irwin were born from Petersburg, Michigan, in Monroe County with her arms, legs, and heart, but her liver connected.

The 11-hour surgery to separate them took place at CS Mott Children’s Hospital. Sarbeth and Amelia are now at home.

It took two teams and 24 doctors, nurses, and other specialists to spend months preparing for the complex procedure.

“For everyone in the room, it was a very emotional and extraordinary moment when another incision was made to separate these girls from one to two girls,” says George Michaliska, MD, pediatric and fetal surgeon at Mott. “This was a colossal team effort that involved nearly every clinical department here and a group that was incredibly committed to collaborating in the most innovative way.”

Parents Alison and Phil Irwin learned about conjoined twins during pregnancy with ultrasound in 2019. The Irwins family knew that the girls might not survive long enough to have surgery, but they did.

Phil Irwin says people need a positive story like the one that revolves around his girls.


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