Advocate Doctors successfully operate on baby born with four legs, two spines

Baby Dominique smiles with her foster mom, Nancy Swabb of Chicago, following her successful surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge.

A 10-month-old baby born with four legs and two spines underwent risky but successful surgery at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge.

Baby Dominique, who is from the Ivory Coast in west Africa, was born with a parasitic conjoined twin, a rare situation in which one twin stops developing in utero and becomes part of the other fully developed twin. In Dominique’s case, the bottom half of her twin’s body protruded from the base of her neck and back, leaving her with two extra legs near her shoulders. She also has a second spine.

Dominique came to the U.S. for specialized medical care through a charity that pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. John R. Ruge works with, Children’s Medical Mission West in Ohio.

Dr. Ruge was one of five surgeons and 45 clinicians involved in Dominique’s surgery and care.

The medical team and Dominique are appearing at a news conference this morning at the hospital.

The other surgeons were pediatric plastic/reconstructive surgeon Frank A. Vicari, pediatric neurosurgeon Robert Givens Kellogg, pediatric plastic/reconstructive surgeon Jordan P. Steinberg, and pediatric and adult orthopedic spine surgeon Eric J. Belin.

Dominique will continue her recovery with her foster family in Chicago’s Edgebrook neighborhood, before returning to her parents and siblings in Africa.

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