VCU garnered national attention and press coverage in November 2011 when a team of surgeons separated conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia. The procedure, which brought together nearly 50 pediatric specialists, lasted a grueling 22 hours but yielded positive results and two happy, healthy 19-month-old little girls.
Following their surgical procedure, the Tapia twins with their mother, Lisandra Sanatis, visited the VCU School of Dentistry for a dental check-up. According to Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse, Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, “Those little girls have big personalities!”
Both girls received a dental exam, cleaning and a fluoride varnish treatment in the Pediatric Dentistry@VCU practice, and both have healthy, pretty teeth. Dr. Brickhouse remembered that one of the twins was very excited, while the other was more hesitant. “Teresa is a budding dentist! Maria was a little shy, so Teresa helped her learn to brush her teeth with their new Dora the Explorer toothbrushes.”
Maria and Teresa’s relationship with VCU began in 2010 when the twins and their mother first visited the medical campus from their home country, the Dominican Republic. After giving birth to her conjoined twins, Sanatis was told to simply take her children home. She connected with the Dominican Republic’s first lady and eventually discovered the World Pediatric Project (WPP), an international organization based in Richmond, Virginia that provides surgical and diagnostic care to Central American and Caribbean children. Through the WPP, the Tapia twins received top-quality healthcare and will return to VCU for their normal check-ups. Maria and Teresa’s saga was even captured on film as a special on The Learning Channel, “Conjoined Twins: Separation Anxiety.”