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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 07:51 GMT 08:51 UK
Twin has surgery after complications
Maria Teresa Quiej-Alvarez
The twins are in a critical but stable condition
One of the conjoined twins separated in a marathon operation in Los Angeles on Monday has had further surgery because of internal bleeding.

Doctors described the separation of the twins from Guatemala as a success.


When they smile back to us then we will know they are back to where they were prior to surgery

Dr Jorge Lazareff
But just hours later, twin Maria Teresa was rushed back to treat a haematoma, or bleeding on the brain.

After nearly five hours in theatre, she was taken back to the intensive care unit to join her sister, Maria de Jesus, who also remains in a critical but stable condition.

The one-year-old girls had been born with their skulls fused, tilting their faces in opposite directions.

They could hold hands, but not see each others' faces.

Positive outlook

"Despite the complication involving Maria Teresa, we feel that the outlook for both twins is positive," said lead neurosurgeon Dr Jorge Lazareff.

Hospital director Michael Karpf said the bleeding was not "necessarily an unexpected complication".

Surgical team operate on the twins
About 50 medical staff were involved in the operation

The procedure to separate the twins took 22 hours and there were emotional scenes in the theatre when it came to an end.

"People were cheering, people were clapping, people were crying," Dr Houman Hemmatti told NBC.

"We can't wait until we see these kids playing, laughing, crying like normal baby children," he added

Danger

But it has been stressed that neither of the girls is out of the woods just yet.

"This is very complicated surgery, and until we get past several days it will be life-threatening for both of them," Mr Karpf said.

"We are minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-by-day. We just can't get ahead of ourselves," he added.
Wenceslao Quiej-Lopez and  Alba Leticia Quiej-Alvarez
Their anxious parents kissed them goodbye

Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej came to Los Angeles with their parents two months ago after a non-profit group raised the money for their treatment in California.

Residents of the family's home town in Guatemala have been holding a candlelit vigil for the girls.

"We're watching the news and listening to the radio," Ricardo Figueroa, an official from the nearby town of Santo Domingo Suchitepequez Figueroa said.

Their story has been front page news throughout the country, with Guatemalans following the twins' progress in blanket media coverage.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
David Willis reports from Los Angeles
"Doctors say the twins are doing extremely well"
Dr Houman Hemmatti
"This is very complicated surgery and until we get past several days, it'll be life threatening for both girls"
See also:

06 Aug 02 | Americas
06 Aug 02 | Americas
15 May 02 | Africa
01 May 02 | Health
30 Apr 02 | Health
25 Aug 00 | Q-S
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