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UCLA Magazine Fall 2002
The Little Marias
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Fall 2002
The Little Marias
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BUT THE SURGERY HASN'T REALLY ENDED. At 9:17 a.m., just over three hours after leaving the OR, Maria Teresa is rushed back to undergo a five-hour procedure to correct a subdural hematoma, or pooling of blood in the brain. On August 16, she has another three-hour procedure after overnight tests show a bacterial infection in the lining of her brain. The medical team drains more blood that remained from the subdural hematoma and could have been aiding the infection's growth. Another 90-minute procedure is performed on her six days later to remove blood from a different location in the back of the brain.

As of press time in late August, the girls remain in serious but stable condition in the PICU, and doctors say they are "cautiously optimistic" about their recovery. While Maria Teresa is recovering more slowly, both have been removed from their ventilators, and Maria de Jesús is already laughing and eating solid food.

"The future looks very bright," says López, the girls' father, who thanked God and the medical team for their efforts. Ulmen, honorary consul for Guatemala, writes in a letter to the team and the hospital staff: "On behalf of the people of Guatemala, the government and I wish to express our most profound and sincere appreciation to all involved with this marvelous gesture of good will. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!"

There still remain medical hurdles to overcome, not the least of which will be extensive reconstructive surgeries. It is not known exactly how long the twins will remain at UCLA — anywhere from weeks to months. It all depends on how well the girls heal, the doctors say.

"They are so young and have tremendous potential for going through all of this and being fairly normal," says neurosurgeon John Frazee, one of the more than 50 medical personnel in the OR. "This is a whole new life for these kids. I'd like to see them five years down the line and know what they are like and what they are doing."

And 2,200 miles away in Guatemala, the patria of Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesús anxiously await the return of their national treasures, the two, separate little girls they now call Las Mariítas del Milagro — the little, miracle Marias.


2005 The Regents of the University of California