(KTLA) — Seventeen years after Dr. Ramen Chmait helped save the lives of twins Aspen and Ashley Somers, he discovered they were accepted to the University of Southern California, where he now works.
“We just want to say thank you because you saved our lives and helped us get to where we are today,” Aspen Somers, 17, said to the doctor over a Zoom call Tuesday. “Without you we probably wouldn’t exist.”
The twins’ mom, Michelle Somers, was 20 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a complication with a high morbidity rate.
“There’s about a 90 or 95 percent chance of losing the pregnancy,” said Chmait, who was a fetal surgery specialist working in Florida at the time while the Somers were in Colorado.
“I met these twins when they were still fetuses,” said Chmait, now an associate professor and director of the school’s fetal surgery program. “There’s very few centers in the world that offer the surgery. She came in and we did her surgery and fortunately, the surgery went very well and they went back to Colorado and delivered the twins.”
Inspired by their experience, the Somers started a nonprofit called the Fetal Health Foundation to help other families.
“They have definitely paid it forward. That’s how come I remember them so well,” Chmait said.
The doctor joined USC in 2006 and learned through Facebook recently that the twins would be attending the university in the fall.
“It does feel full circle, and frankly, it makes me feel old,” he said.
The twins start virtual instruction next week and say they are looking forward to reconnecting with the doctor once the campus reopens after the pandemic.