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The History of Conjoined Twins (1980-1989)
Compiled by Craig Sanders, Twinstuff.Com

Several examples of successfully separated conjoined twins born during this decade (with their separation dates) include Fonda Michelle and Shannon Elaine Beaver of North Carolina (born on February 9, 1980, separated in 1981), Claire and Emily Taylor of Madison, Wisconsin (ischio-omphalopagus tripus twins who were separated in 1984 at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia by Dr. James O'Neill), Hassan and Hussein Saleh of Sudan (ischio-omphalopagus tripus twins who were separated in London in 1986), and Vilija and Vitalija Tamulevicius of Lithuania (May 27 1987). The Tamulevicius twins are occipital craniopagus twins who are successfully separated in Moscow in 1989..

There were several reports of conjoined twins born in Vietnam following the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, including the story of conjoined twin brothers, Viet and Duc, born near Plateau de Kontum in southern Vietnam in February, 1981. Connected at the hip (ischio-omphalopagus tripus), and sharing some internal organs, the two twins were medically separated in 1988 at Tu Du Hospital, two years after Viet had survived a critical brain disease. The two were separated and Duc is a healthy young man today, while Viet is also alive but in very poor health.

On March 2, 1982, Emily and Francesca Selvaggio are born conjoined together. They are separated in a 10-hour, 22-person surgery conducted at Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore, that prestigious institution's first successful separation. A recent update indicates that Francesca is a successful college student but that her twin sister suffers from a very serious form of cerebral palsy.

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore performs a delicate separation surgery on West German twins, Patrick and Benjamin Binder on September 6, 1987. The 22-hour surgery separates the two eight-month-old boys who were joined at the backs of their heads. The boys have numerous post-surgery complications but do survive. Incidentally, this surgery is believed to be the first successful separation of conjoined twins connected at the back of the head and was led by Dr. Ben Carson, Sr., a pioneer in brain surgery techniques.

Another breakthrough separation surgery took place in South Africa in May, 1988 when conjoined twins Mpho and Mphonyana Mathibela were successfully separated after being born joined together at the head. It was the first such operation performed successfully in South Africa. Mphonyana died in 1990. Mpho is mildly retarded and hemiplegic (paralyzed in one side of her body), and can no longer attend school because of the family's financial situation.

A pair of ischio-omphalopagus tripus twin boys, Andrew and Alex Olson, born in Elk Point, South Dakota in 1987, are successfully separated in surgery performed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha on April 22-23, 1988. Despite physical disabilities, the twin boys lead normal lives as teenagers.

Rare three-armed dicephalus twins are born in Ireland with the 1989 birth of conjoined twins, Katie and Eilish. They are separated in 1992 at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London although Katie dies three days following the surgery.

Conjoined Twins Timeline by Years

900-1499
1500-1699
1700-1799
1800-1899
1900-1949
1950-1969
1970-1979
1980-1989 (You're here now)
1990-1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
General Information on Conjoined Twins
Conjoined Twins Timeline Entry Page