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Organization Information

Shriners Hospitals for Children - Northern California


A health care system dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care regardless of patients' ability to pay.

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Success Story

Twin sisters, Eva and Erika, are gaining new strength and independence at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Northern California.

Conjoined at birth, the sisters made national news when they were surgically separated in December 2016 at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. The operation gave them the opportunity to grow up together as independent individuals, with the specialists at Shriners Hospital guiding them on that journey.

A few short months after their surgery, the Sandoval twins made their first visit to Shriners Hospital where Joel Lerman, M.D., saw the orthopaedic challenges each girl faced —one leg, lack of a fully formed pelvis and severe scoliosis. He connected the twins with the hospital’s innovative orthotic and prosthetic specialists, who were tasked with designing devices that would allow the girls to move freely on their own.

In the spring of 2017 just months shy of their second birthday Eva and Erika were driving their very own bright pink wheelchair cars designed by Shriners Hospital specialists. Now 4 years old, Eva and Erika walk on new prosthetic legs. Hospital orthotist Michael Wadekamper and prosthetist Eric Smith collaborated to design devices that would support their body weight and allow for necessary range of motion.

Physical therapist Laura Van Houtryve says “Walking would remain impossible for the twins if it were not for the ingenuity of Michael Wadekamper and Eric Smith. The girls play, walk and explore – but now upright on their feet, rather than scooting on the floor.”

The twins are supported every step of the way by their parents Aida and Arturol, who are thankful to all their daughters' medical professionals