Dr. Henri Ford performs first separation of conjoined twins in Haiti

Dr. Ford with the Bernard twins.

Dr. Ford with the Bernard twins.

Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, completed the first separation of conjoined twins in his native country of Haiti on May 22. CBS News first reported on this surgical milestone June 5. Dr. Ford, who is a member of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Board of Regents, assembled a team of more than two dozen volunteer health professionals from the U.S. who trained for months with Haitian medical staff for the procedure. The nearly seven-hour operation separated the six-month-old girls, Marian and Michelle Bernard, who were joined at the abdomen. They left the hospital in early June, two weeks after the procedure was completed.

Physicians at University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, where the operation was performed, contacted Dr. Ford, chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, when the mother carrying the conjoined twins was at 26 weeks gestation. With careful planning, they were able to deliver the infants 10 weeks later in November. Dr. Ford told CBS News it was “extremely gratifying” to be able to perform the operation in his home country alongside Haitian surgeons whom he helped to train.

The surgical team.

The surgical team.

In addition to being an ACS Regent, Dr. Ford serves as a liaison for the ACS Advisory Council for Pediatric Surgery, is a member of the ACS Ethics Committee, is Past-Chair of the Nominating Committee, and is Past-Vice-Chair of the ACS Board of Governors.

Dr. Ford left Haiti with his family as a teenager to move to New York, NY, but returned for two weeks after the 2010 earthquake to provide surgical care to children injured in the devastation. Since then, Dr. Ford has returned regularly to provide medical care to its residents. The earthquake prompted the Haitian government to team up with Partners in Health, an organization that provides modern medical care to resource-poor countries, and which opened University Hospital in 2013.

View a video clip of the CBS Sunday Morning newscast online.

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