Ana Paula, the nearly 2-year-old girl who was separated from her conjoined twin at the age of 20 weeks, has arrived in Los Angeles from her native Panama.
Paula was born conjoined at the pelvis with her twin sister, who did not survive the initial separation surgery. As a result of that procedure, Paula was left with three legs, three kidneys and various reproductive issues. Only one of her legs is functional.
Paula is scheduled to undergo an additional procedure that will result in the removal of her two non-functional legs as well as other reconstructive surgeries. According to the Daily Mail, the child is expected to be fitted with a prosthetic leg with the intent of allowing her to be able to walk.
“I think she’ll be very functional as a walker, at the very least with crutches or with the arm crutches or something similar,” said Dr. Phoebe Scott-Wyard, who works at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Los Angeles, where the procedure is scheduled to be carried out.
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Paula is undergoing surgery in Los Angeles due to a relative lack of comparable care in her native country. Her trip, her medical bills and other costs associated with her long-term care have been funded by Shriners Hospitals and the Children of War Foundation. The latter organization exists in order to help secure funding for children living in countries where treatment is not available for certain deformities or injuries. According to KTLA, Paula’s medical condition is so rare that there are only 12 survivable cases like it in the world each year.