One Guatemalan twin leaves hospital after surgery

Sunday, June 8, 2003

LOS ANGELES -- One of the Guatemalan twins born joined at the head and separated last summer was released from a hospital Saturday after a 16-day stay, officials said.

Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez was taken to the Los Angeles area home of a couple who volunteer with Healing the Children, the nonprofit group responsible for bringing the 23-month-old sisters to the United States, said co-founder Cris Embleton.

The child will be cared for at the home while her sister, Maria Teresa, continues recuperating at the hospital from recent surgery, said Roxanne Moster, a spokeswoman with the University of California, Los Angeles, Mattel Children's Hospital.

"Maria de Jesus still has a small wound that needs more attention, but we can treat her as an outpatient now," said Dr. Henry Kawamoto, the twins' lead plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

Embleton said the volunteer couple will be trained by hospital nurses to care for Maria de Jesus. The only medical care she requires is changing the dressing on her scalp, she said.

Maria de Jesus also will undergo physical and speech therapy while having regular visits with Maria Teresa at the hospital.

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