The pediatric neurosurgeon who, in 2016, separated conjoined twins Anias and Jadon McDonald has been felled by the coronavirus. Dr. James T. Goodrich died Monday from COVID-19 complications, People reports. A pioneer in his field, Goodrich “dedicated his life to saving children with complex neurological conditions,” according to a statement from the New York hospital where he was the director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery. “Jim was in many ways the heart and soul of our department—a master surgeon, a world-class educator, and a beloved colleague for all,” says the chair of the department of neurosurgery at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center; Goodrich worked at both.
Goodrich developed a world-renowned method for separating conjoined twins, and had separated others before the McDonalds. The boys’ mother mourned him on Facebook: “You will forever be our hero. Every single time my children wrap their arms around my neck, I think of you. Every milestone they reach is because you believed in them as much as I did. I’m not sure how to continue this journey without you,” she wrote. “Please stay home. Please. This virus took him so quickly. Such a tragic loss. I would not want you to have to feel what we are feeling today.” Her later post full of memories of McDonald, including how he paid the family’s rent when the money donated for it got tied up in the hospital, is well worth a read. (Read more coronavirus stories.)