A New York neurosurgeon, James Goodrich, who allowed CNN inside a remarkable operation to separate conjoined twin Jadon and Anias McDonald, died on Monday after complications related to Covid-19, CNN has reported.
The hospital where he worked said Mr Goodrich was a beacon of the institution and he will be truly missed.
Montefiore Medicine CEO, Philip Ozuah, said Mr Goodrich’s expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.
The hospital called Mr Goodrich a pioneer in the field of helping children with complex neurological conditions.
Mr Goodrich developed a multi-stage approach for separating craniopagus twins, who were fused at the brain and skull.
Mr Goodrich came into the spotlight in 2004 when he operated a twins from the Philippines who shared about 8 centimeters of brain tissue.
In 2016, Mr Goodrich led a team of 40 doctors in a 27-hour surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx to separate a twins who were 13 months old when they were separated.
CNN was in the operating room with Mr Goodrich and the team as the boys were separated.
The operation marked the seventh separation surgery performed by Mr Goodrich — and just the 59th craniopagus separation surgery in the world since 1952, CNN reported.
He was known for his incredible skill with his hands, but also his heart.
It was also said that he kept in touch often with patients he operated on.
It said families spoke about how he would never forget the children’s birthdays, and always be there for those special milestones, ones he helped make possible.
Separating conjoined twins is “actually pretty awesome,” he told CNN before the McDonald brothers’ operation. “It’s chaotic …
“We’ve got it down to a fine art, but in the beginning, it was a bit of a challenge.”
Mr Goodrich, who was in his 70s, spent more than 30 years at Montefiore Einstein and was the director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Montefiore and a professor of clinical neurological surgery, pediatrics, plastic and reconstructive surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
He was originally from Oregon and served as a Marine during the Vietnam war, Montefiore Einstein said, and he was known for his passion for historical artifacts, travel and surfing. He is survived by his wife and three sisters.
The hospital described Mr Goodrich as a “humble and truly caring man” who “did not crave the limelight and was beloved by his colleagues and staff.”
Emad Eskandar, chair of the department of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center said, “His sudden loss is heart-breaking and his memory will always remain foremost in our thoughts.”