One sister returns to Operating Room for Additional Treatment
Doctors at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital in Westwood separated 1-year-old conjoined twin girls from Guatemala; the nearly 23-hour surgery was completed at 5:40 a.m. PDT, Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Maria Teresa Quiej Alvarez, returned to surgery at 9:17 a.m. on Aug. 6 to address the development of a hematoma related to the nearly 23-hour surgery. Her sister, Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez, remained in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit listed in critical but stable condition.
“Despite the complication involving Maria Teresa, we feel that the outlook for both twins is positive,” said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, director of the UCLA Pediatric Neurosurgery Program and the lead neurosurgeon on the case. “The hematoma is a collection of blood over the surface of her brain that’s increasing pressure on the brain. We are removing the build-up to help speed her recovery.”
Craniopagus twins — those who are fused at the tops of their heads — are among the rarest of conjoined twins, accounting for just 2 percent of cases worldwide.
The twins arrived at UCLA on June 7 from Guatemala with their mother, Alba Leticia Alvarez. Their father, Wenceslao Quiej Lopez, who had remained in Guatemala to work, arrived in Los Angeles on Aug. 3 to be with his family.
A nonprofit group called Healing the Children (HTC) worked with Lazareff — an HTC volunteer — to accept their case and bring them to UCLA.
While many of the UCLA physicians — including Lazareff — are donating their services — Mattel Children’s Hospital expects the girls’ care to cost upward of $1.5 million. To recover some of the medical expenses, the hospital has established a fund called Twins Care at UCLA. Checks payable to UCLA Foundation may be mailed to UCLA Medical Sciences Development, 10945 Le Conte Ave., Suite 3132, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
Healing the Children also is accepting donations on behalf of the twins at Post Office Box 221478, Newhall, CA 91322. See Healing the Children for more details.
More information will be released as available.
For pictures, video and more information about the twins and their UCLA medical team, see www.healthcare.ucla.edu.