A Very Special Pair of Guests!By
On Tuesday, Dr. David A. Lanning led a team of 45 physicians and pediatric specialists who performed an almost 24 hour surgery to separate conjoined twins Maria Teresa and Teresa Maria Sanatis. The 19 month-old girls, from the Dominican Republic, their mother, Lisandra, and Aunt Maria Estela have been staying with us. The twins have been with us for a while as they prepared for their surgeries, but we were asked to keep it kind of quiet so that the family could concentrate on getting ready and the team could concentrate on being prepared. To play a part in their miraculous, life-changing separation surgery is to witness, first-hand, the power of Richmond’s generous spirit.
Hospital Hospitality House is a haven for patients and their loved ones visiting Richmond for medical care. Since 1984, we have served over 122,000 guests from across Virginia, the United States, and beyond. HHH is the largest hospitality house in the nation that operates on donations only.
This was the first time that Children’s Hospital of Richmond had attempted this procedure. The girls were subjected to imaging, tests, studies, and became models for VCU students who designed special clothing for the girls and created a plaster cast that the plastic surgeons used for planning. There were a lot of unknowns going into the surgery, even after all of the planning, and the doctors had to do some quick thinking as a result. Congratulations to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and World Pediatric Project for getting the girls and VCU together!
Conjoined twins are rare, with one set out of between 100,000 and 200,000 births. Separation is rarer, as the twins often share organs. In many cases separating the twins can result in the death of one or both. There are records of this sort of procedure going back over 300 years, and it is performed about a half dozen times per year in the United States. The risk and mortality rate is still high, even after all of the medical advances that we’ve seen over the last couple of centuries.
The girls will be spending the next couple of weeks in the hospital, and will have to undergo rehabilitation. Dr. Lanning is shooting for having the whole family together for a Dominican Republican Christmas, and we hope that he can deliver. In the meantime, Good Luck Maria Teresa and Teresa Maria! And don’t forget that we’re here for you!