El Salvadorian Woman Walks After Life-Changing Surgery at Hoag Hospital

By Spectrum News 1

December 5, 2018

For Dalia Lopez, a lunge isn’t just a lunge and a kick isn’t just a kick. Because for the longest time – she couldn’t even walk.

“Anyone else can do it so easily and you’re just sitting there wanting to do it but you can’t,” Lopez said.

By the time she was 16, Dalia was confined to a wheelchair because she was experiencing more than 200 seizures a day as a result of her epilepsy.

“She was a perfect little girl up until 11 years, then all of a sudden she’s not able to walk,” said her aunt Ana Ortiz. “She had a seizure that lasted two hours, she had to get to an emergency room because she could not stop."

At the time, she lived in El Salvador, and doctors there couldn’t find a solution to stop her seizures.

So her family fought for her. Her dad, who lives in America, brought her to California last year when she was 21 years old. Her aunt came with her and helped her figure out her insurance, and kept busy researching and making calls until she was able to find a doctor at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, where she was able to see some of the top neurologists in the country, and eventually have the life-changing surgery she needed.

“A neurosurgeon has to make an opening in the cranium, and place electrodes directly on top of or into the brain itself,” Dr. David Millett from Hoag Hospital said.

Now, just three months after surgery, she's nearly seizure free.

“I appreciate it so much, now that I can walk after being in a wheelchair for so long, or a bed,” Lopez said.

Now, she's packing to go back to El Salvador, and is ready to see her family who haven't seen her walk in nearly six years.

“For us to see her now walking, it’s just a miracle,” Ortiz said.

To view the original Spectrum News 1 article and broadcast clip, please click here.