A’zhari Jones (pink bow), one of the formerly conjoined female twins, who made surgical history when she and her sister were surgically separated by doctors last year at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, passed away on Sunday night, just days after her first birthday, according to WTVR.
A’zhiah and A’zhari Jones’ bodies were fused at the abdomen and they shared a liver and pericardium (the thin double-layered sac which encloses the heart). On October 25th of last year when the girls were just 15 days old, they endured a grueling 14-hour surgery which divided their liver and closed up their abdomens. At the time, the surgery was considered groundbreaking as there were no other published reports of successful, phased separation surgeries of twins who shared vital organs.
In April of this year, after the twins’ surgeons were satisfied with the fact that the girls had overcome all of their renal and heart issues encountered after the first surgery and had gained enough weight, they then decided to proceed with a second surgical procedure. Surgeons placed tissue expanders in the girl’s abdomens, which enabled the growth of excess skin to be used for closure and reconstruction following surgery. Reportedly, the plastic surgery team at the hospital was challenged to the extreme to get the closure of the chest and abdomen but they were successful.
After the first surgery, doctors were very hopeful that the girls would have no real complications.
David Lanning, M.D., Ph.D., surgeon-in-chief at the children’s hospital stated at the time, “At this point, we don’t anticipate any future operations or need for any long-term medications,” he had said in a statement in April. “I see the girls living full happy lives as individuals.”
The reason for A’zhari’s death has not been disclosed.