As of 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez remain in critical condition with stable vital signs in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at UCLAâ€™s Mattel Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Westwood, Calif.
Both girls, who remain under sedation, are able to open their eyes and close them. Both also respond to stimulation, such as moving their hand away when it is squeezed. Maria de Jesus also looks around when she opens her eyes, and she is moving her arms and legs slightly.
â€œBoth respond very nicely to stimulation,â€? said Dr. Andy Madikians, assistant professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and PICU attending physician for the twins. â€œThings are moving the way we hoped that they would move.â€?
The conjoined twins were separated early Tuesday, Aug. 6, in a nearly 23-hour surgery. Maria Teresa underwent a two-part, five-hour surgical procedure later that day to correct a subdural hematoma, or build-up of blood in the brain.
â€œMaria de Jesus is a little more responsive than Maria Teresa,â€? Madikians said. â€œItâ€™s possible that Maria Teresa is a bit behind her sister because of the follow-up surgery.â€?
Maria de Jesus was the first to show movement after doctors took the twins off paralytic agents overnight. Doctors administered the drugs after the surgery to protect the sisters from brain injury by preventing coughing and movement in the very early stages of recovery.
â€œWe remain cautiously optimistic about the long-term prospects of both girls,â€? Madikians said.
UCLA Medical Center is covering the estimated $1.5 million in medical costs related to this weekâ€™s separation surgery of conjoined twins from Guatemala. As a research university hospital, the medical center after much review accepted the case for humanitarian reasons, and for teaching and learning opportunities. The parents of the children are under no obligation to reimburse the hospital.
Donations to help UCLA Medical Center defray its costs are welcome. Checks payable to â€œTwins Care at UCLA Fundâ€? 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 P.O. Box 221478, Newhall, CA 91322.