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Craniofacial Surgery Gives Tijuana Teen Chance to be 'Normal' Kid

Some might consider it miraculous … others, fate. But how the lives of Daniel Lozano, Mel Gibson and Mary Clarke intersected serendipitously at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center// is remarkable no matter how you look at it.

At the center of the story is Jose Daniel (Danny) Lozano, a teenager from Tijuana, Mexico who is recovering from reconstructive craniofacial surgery. Danny is one of many children who have received medical care made possible by a highly specialized medical team at Cedars-Sinai and a $5 million dollar gift to the hospital from actor/director Mel Gibson. Two years ago in December, Lozano met a member of the religious order founded by Mary Clarke (now known as Sister Antonia) at a village holiday party, and the sisters began searching to find the medical care he needed. The search ended at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills, where Clarke had lived before beginning her ministry in Tijuana 30 years ago.

The outcome of these coincidental events - Lozano’s surgery - is likely to be “life-altering,” according to Mark M. Urata, M.D., D.D.S, director of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, and part of the team who participated in Danny’s operation in early May.

“Danny had lost his right eye in a horrific accident in Mexico in 2000 and doctors there addressed it as best as they could at the time, but the way it healed left his face with a significant deficit,” explained Urata. “The eye is such an important part of our body not only because of our vision but because we often focus on a person’s eyes – so much poetry and music has been written about the look in someone’s eyes. We wanted him to be able to remove the sunglasses and cap he’d worn since the accident to camouflage his looks and feel confident about his appearance.”

The accident happened when Lozano joined some friends to play football then realized he didn’t have his spiked shoes. He borrowed a friend’s bicycle to retrieve them from home
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