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Tracking COVID-19 at UCLACampus Safety

Separated twin improves to “˜serious’ after surgery

By Edward Chiao

April 30, 2003 9:00 p.m.

Maria Teresa Quiej Alvarez, one of the formerly conjoined twins
separated at UCLA last year, has been upgraded from critical to
serious condition.

She was moved out of the intensive care unit at the Hospital del
Pilar in Guatemala City where she was being treated for E. Coli
meningitis since April 15, according to Dr. Jorge Lazareff,
director of pediatric neurosurgery at UCLA’s Mattel
Children’s Hospital.

Her condition is rapidly improving with antibiotic treatments,
according to Lazareff, who is in Guatemala.

Lazareff and two UCLA anesthesiologists traveled to Guatemala on
April 28 to consult on Maria Teresa’s condition after being
informed that Maria Teresa was being treated for an infection.

Dr. Ludwig Ovalle, medical director of Guatemala’s
Pediatric Foundation, who invited Lazareff to fly to Guatemala, has
been in charge of caring for Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus since
they returned to Guatemala in January of this year.

Doctors originally discovered a pump they inserted in Maria
Teresa’s skull had become infected with E. Coli bacteria.
They successfully removed the old pump, inserting a new device to
keep liquid from pooling and putting pressure on her brain.

Since the separation surgery last August, Maria Teresa has
recovered more slowly than her sister, Maria de Jesus.

Maria Teresa has required three additional surgeries to remove a
buildup of blood in her brain. She also suffered hearing loss in
one ear and wears a hearing aid.

Lazareff and the team of UCLA anesthesiologists were scheduled
to return to Los Angeles Wednesday.

With reports from Daily Bruin wire services. For complete
coverage, go to and click on
“Extended Coverage.”

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Edward Chiao
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