Suzy Fitterer: “We have two normal two-year olds”


Working in Mayo Clinic’s public affairs department, I don’t get to have as much daily interaction directly with patients and their families as our medical staff members do (although with our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog, I’m now having more of these opportunities.) But in one special year, starting in February 2006, I was part of the team that managed the media interest in three sets of conjoined twins who were successfully separated at Mayo Clinic.

Stacy and Suzy Fitterer of Bismarck, North Dakota brought their daughters Abygail and Madysen to Mayo Clinic in the later part of 2006. On October 3 they had an operation to insert tissue expanders underneath their skin, which were gradually filled over the next several weeks with saline solution. The purpose was to ensure that there would be enough skin to close the incisions after they were separated.

Exactly three months after the tissue expander operation, on January 3, 2007, the girls were wheeled to the operating room to be separated in a day-long series of procedures:

Abygail and Madysen just before separation surgery

Abygail and Madysen just before separation surgery

In late February, Abygail and Madysen and their parents (with brother, Nick) said goodbye to the staff involved in their care…

Penny Stavlo (l) and surgeon Christopher Moir, M.D., (r) with the Fitterer family

Penny Stavlo (l) and surgeon Christopher Moir, M.D., (r) with the Fitterer family

…and returned home to Bismarck, where the girls have continued to receive regular care and physical therapy from local providers. They return to Rochester twice a year for check-ups, the most recent of which was yesterday.

Suzy had contacted me in advance of their visit, asking if we could get her some copies of videos and photos taken as part of the news coverage. I asked if she would be willing to share a video update on the girls’ progress for all the people who had taken an interest in their situation. Between their appointments yesterday, I had a few moments of conversation with Suzy and with Abygail (Madysen was mainly in napping mode.)

While Abygail had some misconceptions about their relative ages, it’s clear that she and Madysen are — as Suzy said — normal two-year olds. It was great getting to see them again.

If you know people who would appreciate seeing this update, you can pass it along through Facebook or other sharing sites using the sharing toolbar below. Or, you could just do it the old-fashioned (90s) way, and copy and paste the URL above into an email.

Lee Aase is manager of syndication and social media at Mayo Clinic.

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7 Responses to “Suzy Fitterer: “We have two normal two-year olds””

  1. Fitterer Paul-H. Says:

    We are also Fitterer’s from Germany, near Karlsruhe – Rheinstetten-Mörsch, where all Fitterer’s comes from. We followed years ago that wonderful storie with this Fitterer’s twins and we send once congratulation
    but never had any response. There was also an contact from Michel Fitterer, from Paris, France, who manage all the Fitterer’s living in France.
    We also have find out, that there are lots of Fitterer’s in Bismarck/ND.
    Some Fitterer’s was also going to Ukraine – and than from there to US.
    All fitterer’s worldwide – good luck.

  2. Rafita Chandler Says:

    What beautiful children. May all the little angles be with them always and always be watched over. A beautiful story, God bless them and their wonderful parents. thanks for this wonderful story.

  3. Mayo Clinic Recognized for Pediatric Care « Mayo Clinic News Says:

    […] conjoined twins Abby and Belle Carlsen and Abbygail and Madysen Fitterer returning to Mayo Clinic for check ups, more than two years after their successful surgical […]

  4. Abby and Belle Carlsen: Three Years Later « Sharing Mayo Clinic Says:

    […] Abby and Belle were the first of three sets of conjoined twins successfully separated at Mayo Clinic between May 2006 and January 2007. The third, Abbygail and Madysen Fitterer, from Bismarck, North Dakota, returned for their checkups earlier this month. […]

  5. Tanja Morello Says:

    Thank you for posting this update of the Fitterer twins. It’s so nice to see them again and to see how well they are doing. They look so adorable–lovely little 2-year-olds. I sure hope we can see more updates about the girls over the coming years. Best wishes to the girls and their family.

  6. Susan Wollebeck Says:

    Thank you so much for this story – I am in healthcare in Dayton and it is stories such as these that keep me motivated!

  7. Chris Hughes Says:

    It is so great to see them again and how well they are doing. I knew them from my work area and watched the many struggles they went through. God Bless them and their recovery, how wonderful to have two beautiful children. Good Luck.

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