The Little Marias
1 | 2 | 3
| 4 |
5 | 6 |
7 | 8 |
9 | 10
have an intense emotional bond with Guatemala," says Lazareff,
who went on medical missions to the Central American country in
1991 and 1992 while he was a physician in Mexico City. "I immediately
afterward, Lazareff was translating the girls' medical records from
Spanish to English. He brought the girls' situation to the attention
of the administration of UCLA Medical Center and the hospital agreed
to take on the case. It would be the first attempt ever at UCLA
to separate conjoined twins.
Dr. Lazareff was an absolute miracle," says Chris Embleton,
co-founder of Healing the Children and director of its California
chapter. "I have no doubt that these girls ended up exactly
where they were supposed to be."
the people of Guatemala, who had been praying at Catholic Masses
held for the girls, heard that Las Mariítas were going to
UCLA, "hope began," says Lesly Véliz, a reporter
for the Guatemalan newspaper Siglo Veintiuno, who flew to Los Angeles
to cover the surgery. "In Guatemala, we hear a lot about UCLA,
but we didn't necessarily know that there was a hospital associated
with the university. We were happy because Las Mariítas are
very special for us."
all, hundreds of health-care workers from the UCLA Medical Center
- surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, radiologists, anesthesiologists,
interns, residents, technicians and social workers will be
involved with the girls' care. It will, in essence, be the largest
single medical team assembled in UCLA's history. The team formed
"as soon as the first pediatric intern or resident put on a
stethoscope and made a physical examination of the girls,"
Lazareff says. "And it will last until a pediatric intern or
resident signs the discharge summary."
many of UCLA's health-care professionals will donate their expertise
and services, additional medical expenses are expected to cost the
hospital more than $1.5 million.