The Little Marias
1 | 2 |
3 | 4 | 5
| 6 |
7 | 8 |
9 | 10
The twins are rolled into the OR
AUGUST 5, THE TASK OF SEPARATING THE TWINS occupies
the world's attention as they watch through the camera lenses of
a throng of international media holding vigil outside the Mattel
Children's Hospital. Inside, the medical team, led by Lazareff and
Kawamoto, begins carrying out each step of the meticulously planned
marathon operation. Early estimates are that the surgery might take
15 hours, but the operating room is booked for 48 hours, just in
7:53 a.m., after saying their teary goodbyes in the glare of television
cameras, Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesús' parents watch as
their girls are rolled on a gurney past the nurses' station on their
way to OR 22, the only operating room large enough to accommodate
all the people and equipment necessary for the surgery.
the anesthesia team spent several hours setting up the OR the night
before, it takes almost six hours of careful, intensive work to
prep the girls. Lines and tubes are everywhere. The girls' airways
are secured with tubes down their throats and noses. Multiple IVs
flow into each patient. Multiple EKG leads. Blood-pressure monitors.
monitors. Catheters. Because there are so many lines going at once,
they are color-coded: Maria Teresa's are blue, Maria de Jesús'
hours tick by, but the focus of the team is so intense that they
hardly notice how much time has elapsed. "Time was not something
we were considering," says Barbara Van de Wiele, who headed
the 10-member anesthesia team, after the surgery is over. "If
it took us two days, that would have been OK.