Conjoined Twins

Last Updated–July 14, 2003) There is an extremely rare form of identical twins that occurs perhaps in one out of every 75,000 to 100,000 births or 1 in 200 deliveries of identical twins, that of conjoined twins.

Conjoined twins originate from a single fertilized egg so they are always identical and same-sex twins. The developing embryo starts to split into identical twins within the first two weeks after conception but then stops before completion, leaving a partially separated egg which continues to mature into a conjoined fetus.

Famous Conjoined Twins

Twins Years
Biddenden Maids
Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst in Kent, England. Wealthy conjoined twins (hips or buttocks) who bequeathed fortune to Church; annual celebration was held in England for centuries where cakes displayed their images.
1100-34
Hungarian Sisters, Helen and Judith
Pygopagus twins who each spoke 4 languages
1701-23
Eng and Chang Bunker
Original Siamese Twins
1811-74
Millie and Christine McKoy
The Two-Headed Nightingale–Pygopagus Twins
1851-1912
Giacomo and Giovanni Tocci
Inspiration for Mark Twain’s ‘Those Extraordinary Twins’)
1877-194?
Daisy and Violet Hilton
Vaudeville Performers, Stars of ‘Chained for Life’
1908-69
Masha and Dasha Krivoshyapovy
Were world’s oldest surviving non-separated conjoined twins at start of 2003.
1950-2003?
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon
U.S.’s oldest surviving non-separated conjoined twins
1952-present
Lori and Dori Schappell
One of U.S.’s oldest surviving non-separated conjoined twins
1961-present
Laleh and Ladan Bijani
Iranian twin sisters who died while being separated in surgery in Singapore
1974-2003
Blake and Francis Falls
Fictional characters in Twin Falls Idaho
n/a

The birth of two connected babies can be extremely traumatic and approximately 40-60% of these births are delivered stillborn with 35% surviving just one day. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5-25% and historical records over the past 500 years detail about 600 surviving sets of conjoined twins with more than 70% of those surviving pairs resulting in female twins.

While there are dozens of types of conjoined twins, doctors generally divide the types into the more common variations described in the below chart. All of these types can be more broadly categorized as displaying either equal and symmetrical forms or unequal and possible asymmetrical forms.

Scientific Term Description
Craniopagus Twins are joined at the cranium (the top of the head or skull). Occuring in just 2% of all conjoined twin cases, this is a very difficult type of twin to separate although advances in medicine have led to more than 35 successful separations. Two female craniopagus twins were successful separated in Lithuania in 1989, for example.
Thoraopagus The most common form of conjoined twins, occuring in between 35-40% of all cases. The twins share part of the chest wall, possibly including sharing the heart.
Pygopagus Twins are likely positioned back-to-back and usually have a posterior connecton at the rump. Occurs in almost 20% of documented cases.
Ischiopagus About 6% of all conjoined twins have this condition, with the twins joined by the coccyx (lowest part of the backbone) and the sacrum (backbone immediately above the coccyx).
Omphalopagus Twins are united from the waist to the lower breastbone, probably accounting for about 34% of conjoined cases.
Dicephalus One body with two separate heads and necks. Abigail and Brittany Hensel of the United States are an example of this very rare type of conjoined twin. The Tocci Brothers, Scottish Brothers and Ritta and Christina were also examples of this type of conjoined twin.

 

 

Eng and Chang Bunker Click here to read our review of Chang and Eng: A Novel

Or buy the book now at amazon.com by clicking the cover below

Chang and Eng: A Novel

 

Perhaps the most famous pair of conjoined twins were Eng and Chang Bunker (shown above as young adults), who were born in Siam (now Thailand) on May 10, 1811 and died within hours of each other on January 17, 1874 at age 62. The Bunker Twins fathered 21 children between them and were successful businessman and ranchers in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Attached by a five-inch connecting ligament near their breastbones, Eng and Chang married sisters Sallie and Adelaide Yates, respectively, and lived fairly private lives when they weren’t touring the world to earn incomes. After their deaths it was determined they could have been successfully separated, a medical option that was never offered to Eng and Chang during their lives.

Although Eng and Chang’s fame helped coin the phrase ‘Siamese Twins’, they were not the first pair of conjoined twins recorded in medical annals as there were probably about 100 such pairs known by the time of their 1811 births, a fact which helped the King of Siam reverse an early death sentence on the brothers. In fact, conjoined twins were recorded as early as 945 in Armenia and the first pair of successfully separated twins took place in 1689 by German physician G. König.

While there aren’t any documented cases of conjoined triplets, there have been triplet births that featured conjoined twins, most recently Nida and Hira Jamal of Pakistan. Although the two Craniopagus girls were successfully separated, tragically Nira’s heart wasn’t strong enough after the separation and she died shortly after the operation.

Don and Ron Galyon
Ronnie and Donnie Galyon from late 1950’s or early 1960’s
 

Today, most pairs of conjoined twins are successfully identified during prenatal examinations. Some types of conjoined twins are much easier to separate while other rare forms lead to complicated and costly procedures that can lead to difficult ethical and moral decisions of separation surgery, especially if the twins share internal organs (the case of Baby Jodie and Baby Mary in England in 2000 being a perfect example). The European case (their parents are from the Maltese island of Gozo) in which one baby was allowed to die during surgery brings back memories of conjoined sisters Angela and Amy Lakeberg of Indiana, who also shared just one heart when born. They were separated August 20, 1993 in a ceremony in which Amy was allowed to die. Tragically, Angela died less than a year later. According to the book ‘Entwined Lives‘, there have been approximately 200 attempted surgical separations of conjoined twins, with 90% of these occurring after 1950. Three-quarters of the procedures since 1950 have resulted in one or both of the twins surviving.

Several hospitals across the world specialize in these often difficult surgeries. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has performed more than a dozen successful separation surgeries since its first operation in 1957 (most recently performing one on 7-month-old twin girls on March 1, 2001), while physicians such as Dr. Rich Hampton of the Pediatric Surgical Associates in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, successful separated Keri and Kaci Archer in October, 1991. The Children’s Hospital of Boston has operated on nine sets of conjoined twins (as of the mid 1990’s, current numbers not available). Raffles Hospital in Singapore took on the extremely difficult operation of separating 29-year-old Iranian conjoined twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani in July, 2003. While they were able to successfully separate the skulls of this craniopagus set of twins, tragically they were not able to successfully separate the blood stems from their two separate brains and both ladies died on the operating table on July 8th, 2003.

There are organizations which can help parents of conjoined twins address some of the issues they will face during their pregnancies or while raising their children. Conjoined Twins International, based in Prescott, Arizona, was founded in 1987 by a grandfather of conjoined twins. The organization gives advice and support to a little more than half of the families of conjoined twins currently living in the United States. The last known telephone number and email we were aware of for this group was 520-445-2770 and this email address.

Daisy and Violet Hilton
Daisy and Violet Hilton Postcard, Circa 1920’s
A Chronological History of Conjoined Twins

Chang and Eng Bunker
Chang and Eng Bunker
1865
Tocci Twins
Giavanni and Giancomo Tocci
1880s
Two sets joined at hip, circa 1930s
The Gibbs Twins
1930s
Biddenden Maids
Biddenden Maids
1100

This section represents an historical look at milestones in the annals of conjoined twins. We’ve compiled summaries of more than 150 significant events over the past 1100 years in this special look at the rare birth of conjoined twins.

The History of Conjoined Twins (900-1499)

Although there were probably earlier incidents of births of conjoined twins, the earliest recorded reference was a set of identical conjoined boys (the Armenian Twins) in 945 in Constantinople, connected from the waist to the abdomen. Initially admired as a curiousity, they were later thought to be bad omens and exiled. An attempted surgical separation caused the death of one of the twins, with the survivor dying three days later. (reported in Bulletin on the History of Medicine, 58 in 1984).

Perhaps the most famous conjoined twins born before Eng and Chang were the Biddenden Maids, Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst of Biddenden, Kent, England, who were born to a wealthy family in 1100 and lived until 1134. They were joined at the hips (although illustrations sometimes mistakingly show they were also joined at the shoulders) and bequeathed their family fortune to the Church. For centuries following their death (until the early 1900’s), an annual celebration was held in Biddenden in which biscuits displaying their images were distributed to the poor on Easter. Today, the 20 acres that the sisters bequeathed to the Church contains cottages known as the Chulkhurst Estate. Following the death of one sister, the second twin refused to be separated, supposedly saying, “As we came together, we will also go together,” dying six hours later.

A set of conjoined boys joined at the back was born in Glasgow, Scotland in the late 15th Century (we’ve seen it reported as both 1475 and 1490) and survived for 28 years (either 1503 or 1518), dying five days apart. They lived under the patronage of the King of Scotland, James IV. The most complete information we’ve read on these Scottish Brothers was in the book, The Two-Headed Boy & Other Medical Marvels by Jan Bonderon (Cornell University Press, 2000). According to that author, the brothers lived from 1490-1518 and spoke eight different languages, English, Irish, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Danish. They were also avid singers. They were dicephalus tetrabrachius twins (two torsos, 4 arms, 2 heads, 1 pair of legs).

There are also reports of a pair of girls born in 1495 near Worms who were joined at the forehead. A 1983 Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences essay relays the supposed origin of the birth occuring when two women (one of whom was pregnant) were having a conversation and had a collision with their heads. The pregnant woman became frightened and passed the mark of her concussion onto her unborn twins.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1500-1699)

The first autopsy in the New World is performed in 1533 on a pair of conjoined twin sisters in Santo Domingo. According to the book, Twins: Nature’s Amazing Mystery, it is conducted at the request of a priest who had baptized both children but wished to determine as to whether one or two souls were involved.

A celebrated pair of omphalopagus parasiticus conjoined twins, Lazarus and Joannes Baptista (John the Baptist) Colloredo, are born on March 20, 1617 in Genua, Italy. Lazarus and his parasitic twin tour throughout Europe for most of his life (it is believed the twins die in the late 1640’s or early 1650’s) as detailed in the book The Two-Headed Boy & Other Medical Marvels by Jan Bonderon (Cornell University Press, 2000). Several poems and short stories are written about the pair, including this excerpt from ‘Ballard of The Two Inseperable Brothers’ by Martin Parker.

“A Gentleman well qualifide,
Doth beare his brother at his side,
inseperably Knit,
As in this figure you may see,
And both together living be
the world admires at it.
Doctors who examined the medical histories of the twins believe that they began as two equally sized omphalopagus conjoined twins but that John the Baptist’s body lost contact with the umbiblical vesicle and certain body parts began to atrophy.

Lazarus and Joannes Baptista Colloredo
The first set of conjoined twins to successfully be separated was a pair of twins who were born together in Basle in 1689. Connected by a one-inch long and five-inch diameter band, they were separated although we’ve seen different reports as to which doctor performed the surgery. According to the Irving and Amy Wallace biography of Chang and Eng, The Two, the surgery was performed by a celebrated physician, Dr. Fatio, who supposedly employed six surgical wires to medically separate them. Dr. Nancy Segal’s book, Entwined Lives, makes reference to a German physician G. König as performing the operation.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1700-1799)

A famous set of conjoined sisters were born on October 26, 1701, the Hungarian Sisters, Helen and Judith. Shown below in a drawing that doesn’t appear to be accurate, they were actually connected at the back and had only one set of legs between them and were thus believed to be pygopagus twins. They spent much of their childhood performing in fairs throughout Europe in England, Holland, Germany and Italy but moved to a convent at age nine. They lived until age 22 with one sister dying of fever and the other passing on shortly thereafter with no evident signs of illness Their lives were also chronicled in a poem by Alexander Pope.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1800-1899)

Perhaps the best-known set of conjoined twins and the ones who were first given the name “Siamese Twins” were Chang and Eng, who were born on a houseboat in the village of Mekong in what was then known as Siam on May 11, 1811. Born to a farming family, they were the fifth and sixth children of their mother Nok and their father, Ti-eye. The couple would later have three additional children. Connected by a five-inch band of cartilage between their breastbones (which would expand slightly as they aged), Chang and Eng were dipolopagus twins, completely symmetrical and most probably could have been separated during their lives.

Chang and Eng led celebrated lives, they spent much of their childhood living with King Rama III in Bangkok before traveling to America in 1829. Arriving in the United States, they added a surname, Bunker, most probably because of their friendship with a family with that name. The two toured extensively throughtout the world for most of their lives before settling down to live as farmers in Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1839. It was in the North Carolina hills that Chang and Eng met their wives, marrying sisters Adelaide and Sallie Yates, respectively.

The two families led relatively prosperous lives and combined to parent 21 children. They died witihn hours of each other on January 17, 1874 at age 62. For more on their rich lives, we suggest reading The Two, Chang and Eng: A Novel or visiting The Hypenated Life Web Site. One of the Bunker Twins descendents, Michael Bunker, maintains an informative web site on his family here at twinstuff.

A sad fate awaited the Sardinian Twins, Ritta and Christina (shown below), who were born in Sassari, Sardinia in 1829. The eighth and ninth children of poor parents, the twins died of cold at just 8 months and 11 days (Nov. 23, 1829) when their parents took them to Paris to be exhibited. Their skeleton is still preserved in Paris. They were Dicephali Twins with 2 legs, 2 upper bodies, 4 arms and 2 heads.

Rita and Christine
While Chang and Eng were garnering most of the headlines during this era, another remarkable pair of conjoined twins, Millie and Christine McKoy, the Two-Headed Nightingale, were also living in North Carolina. These two twins were born into slavery in Columbus County, North Carolina on July 11, 1851, weighing a remarkable combined 17 pounds at birth (Christine, the stronger baby, likely weighed a dozen of those 17 pounds). The twins were fluent in five languages and were accomplished pianists, singers and dancers who toured the world performing, with many of those years as featured performers of PT Barnum’s traveling shows. They died on October 8 and 9, 1912 as Millie succombed to tuburculosis and Christine was then given massive doses of morphine before also passing on from eight to 17 hours later. For more on Millie-Christine, we recommend reading the book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.

Another well-known set who lived during this era were Giavanni and Giacomo Tocci, the inspiration for Mark Twain’s Those Extraordinary Twins. The Tocci Twins were born in Locana, Italy on October 4, 1877 and lived until 1940. They were one body below their sixth rib and two bodies above with each brother controlling one of their legs (dicephalus twins). They were quite artistic, spoke three languages, perhaps married sisters (it is unclear), and lived their final 40 years in relative seclusion near Venice, Italy.

According to the book, The Two-Headed Boy & Other Medical Marvels by Jan Bonderon (Cornell University Press, 2000), the Tocci Twins were born to a 19-year-old mother and 32-year-old father, who fainted when first presented his newborn sons. After their parents exploited the pair during extensive tours, both the family and twins made a great deal of money, allowing the twins to retire at an early age (at age 20).

Another set of dicephalus twins, Mina and Minnie Finley, were born in Mt. Gilead, Ohio on October 12, 1870. The twin girls lived to be just 13 months before passing away. They were connected at the lower lims and had two heads, four arms and four legs. Their casts reside in the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today.

A rare example of parasitic conjoined twins was the sideshow performer, Jean Libbera, who was born in Rome, Italy in 1884, with a conjoined twin, Jacques, growing from his torso. He was the fourth of 13 children in his family and the third child in the family also had the same type of parasitic twin, but died shortly after birth. The People of the Sideshow Web Site has a biography and photo of Jean and Jacques.

Another early pair of twins who were separated briefly were the Orissa Sisters, Radica and Doadica, who were born in India in either 1888 or 1889. They were separated by a French physician after one of the sisters contracted tuberculosis with Doadica dying immediately following the separation and Radica dying two years later also to tuberculosis.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1900-1949)

Another well-known pair of conjoined sisters, Daisy and Violet Hilton, were born in England in 1908. The two sisters were joined at the hips and appeared in two movies together, Freaks (as youngsters) and Chained for Life, while also performing on the stage. A Broadway musical on the Hilton’s lives, Side Show, premiered in 1997 to generally good reviews but closed after just three months of performances. Daisy was very briefly married to a gentleman named Don but their marriage was annulled after just 10 days (the plot of Chained for Life also has one of the sisters getting married). The sisters both passed away in 1969.

A pair of vaudeville stars from the Phillipines, Simplicio and Lucio Godina lived from 1908-36. They were married to twin (not conjoined) sisters, with whom they performed on stage. The Godina Twins were accomplished dancers and roller skaters and quite dissimilar in appearance. Lucio died from pneumonia at age 28 after which successful separation surgery was performed to save Simplicio. Unfortunately, he too died a few days later due to an infection in his nervous system.

Godina Twins with their wives, Lucia on left
Lucia (l) and Simplicio Godina with their wives
Conjoined twins Mary and Margaret Gibb were born May 20, 1912 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, joined at the buttocks. The twins avoided attempts to be separated, even after Margaret developed cancer and they died minutes apart on August 29, 1967. The Gibb Twins were quite different in appearance, Mary was two inches shorter than her sister and much heavier. For a nice web page with some pictures on the Gibb Twins, please visit this site.

Another set of conjoined twins were also born in 1912 as sisters Guadalupe and Josephine Hinojosa were born in Havana, Cuba on November 15, 1912. Based on photos we’ve seen of the twins, we believe they were thoraopagus twins.

On March 30, 1922, 34-year-old conjoined twin Josepha Blazak died of jaundice in Chicago with her sister Rosa succombing two days later. The Blazek’s were born in Skerychov, Bohemia on January 20, 1878. Joined at the pelvis area, the two attracted headlines in 1900 when Rosa gave birth to a baby boy in Prague. The boy’s father was willing to marry Rosa but the courts forbade the marriage.

Conjoined sisters Yvonne and Yvette MacArthur were born in 1949 in Los Angeles and died together in 1993. The sisters had separate hearts and brains but were fused together at the head and could not be separated.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1950-1969)

The rarest type of conjoined twins, Dicephales tetrabrachius dipus (two heads, four arms and two legs) are born in Russia on January 4, 1950–Masha and Dasha Krivoshyapovy. Actually, Masha and Dasha share a vestigal (non-functioning) third leg. They received quite a bit of international publicity as children but have been out of the public limelight for quite some time now although a recent picture of the two was featured in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records (shown below). They were the oldest surviving conjoined (non-separated) twins in the world at the beginning of the year 2003, but some unverified media accounts indicate that both twins passed away in April, 2003.

Masha and Dasha
The United States’ oldest surviving non-separated conjoined twins, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon are born on October 28, 1952 in Dayton, Ohio. Long-time sideshow performers, they are now retired from show business but still occasionally appear on TV. They were profiled on the Jerry Springer Show on April 21, 1997 and were also interviewed on the 1998 Discovery Channel documentary, ‘Joined at Birth’.

One of the earliest 20th century examples of a successful separation of conjoined twins is performed on March 29, 1955 as Dr. Dragstedt at the University of Chicago performs surgery on Prisna and Napit Atkinson, who were born in Thailand in May, 1953. We heard from the Atkinson Twins’ niece, who reported to us in an email that her aunts are successful and doing well and that both are married and live in the United States.

Another less successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the head were the Brodie Twins, who were separated in 1952. One twin, Roger, died a month after the surgery, while the other brother Rodney Dee survived the operation, only to die at age 11 on May 28, 1963.

A pair of four-armed dicephalus twins are born near Petersburg, Indiana in the United States on December 12, 1953 with the birth of twins Danny Kaye and Donald Ray Hartley. Despite cardiac problems with the twins, they were improving and allowed to go home with their parents. A Life Magazine article profiled the family, but tragically the twins died at four months due to acute cardiac dilatation. As you can see in the pictures below, the twins had two spines united to a single pelvis.

Daniel Kaye and Donald Ray Hartley (Life Magazine, 1953)X-Ray of the Hartley Twins

An extremely rare case of conjoined male-female twins is born in 1957 as reported in the 1988 book Twinning and Twins. It is suspected that pseudohermaphroditism, a condition where external genitals resemble that of the opposite sex, exists in one of the twins.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia performs its first separation in 1957, separating Pamela and Patricia Schatz joined at the buttocks. One of the twins, Pamela, dies at age 9 following open-heart surgery; the other, Patricia, survives the separation and is now married.

Another successful separation is performed in the state of Oregon as Denett and Jeanett Stubblefield from Parma, Idaho (born June 29, 1959) are separated at Doernbecher Hospital in Portland on October 18, 1959. The two girls were born joined at the abdomen and chest. Tragically, Jeanett dies of pneumonia six months after the surgery. We have an update on the Stubblefield Family in our Twin Talk area.

On September 11, 1961 conjoined twin sisters Karen and Kate Yong are born in Kandang Kerbau Hospital in Singapore. Joined at the chest and abdomen, the twins were separated in surgery conducted at Singapore General Hospital on December 11, 1961, but tragically Kate died of complications arising from the lack of skin on December 12, surviving for just 15 hours following the surgery. Karen Yong is still alive at age 42 as of this writing (October, 2003). Here’s a little more on these twins.

A week later, on September 18, 1961 conjoined twin sisters Lori and Reba (Dori) Schappell are born in Reading, Pennsylvania. The sisters have been featured on numerous TV shows and are believed to be the only set of adult living conjoined twins in the United States who are joined at the head. Reba, who has a musical career and who received a L.A. Music Award in 1997 for best new country artist, has several medical conditions that require her to to sit in a special stool which is steered by her sister. They live independently in Pennsylvania.

Conjoined sisters Juraci and Nadir Climerio de Oliveria were born in Brazil in 1957, sharing just one intestinal and renal system. They live in a Maternity Hospital in Salvador until dying at age 17 in 1974.

In May, 1965, conjoined sisters Guiseppina and Santina Foglia were successfully separated after being fused together from birth at the base of the spine. They went on to live normal lives in their home in Asti, Italy.

In the late 1960’s conjoined twin sisters, Ganga and Jamuna Mondal, are born in India. They have separate heads, hearts and lungs, but are joined at the stomach and share a single liver, fused bowel track and a single genital. The still-living twin sisters travel together as part of the Dreamland Circus in India. One of the twins gives birth to a baby girl in the mid 1990’s, but the baby dies shortly after its birth.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1970-1979)

Several examples of successfully separated conjoined twins born during this decade (with their separation dates, if known) include Lisa and Elisa Hansen of Utah (1979), Chun-yi and Chun-jen Chang of China (conjoined from the waist down with three legs) (1977), Andrew and Grant Priestly of Australia, and Clara and Altagracia Rodriguez (1974). The September, 1974 separation of the Rodriguez Twins from the Dominican Republic was performed at The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia by Dr. Everett C. Koop (later the Surgeon General of the United States and a veteran of several separation surgeries who was quoted in The Washington Post in 1988 as saying “I am willing to take any reasonable risk to separate Siamese twins because of the grotesque future they face”). A team of 23 doctors performed the surgery on the 13-month-old ischiopagus girls (they shared one liver and parts of the same colon). Both babies survive the separation, but Alta dies at age three after choking on a bean. Clara lives a healthy life in the Dominican Republic.

A set of conjoined sisters is born in Iran on January 17th, 1974, Laleh and Ladan Bijani. Connected at the head, they underwent separation surgery in July, 2003 that tragically resulted in the death of both of the sisters. You can read more on their tragic deaths in this forum.

Conjoined twin brothers, Charles and Charleu da Luz Tenório are born in Arcoverde, Brazil in 1973. Successfully separated by Dr. Paulo Rabello at nine months of age, the two 27-year-old twins are still quite close today and live in Recife, Brazil. They are complete mirror-image identical twins with Charleau’s heart on his right side, and Charles on his left side.

A set of conjoined sisters is born in Great Britain in 1970, Anna and Barbara Rosycki. Anna & Barbara were separated at birth. They were omphalopagus sharing a liver. It was considered the first successful separation in England.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1980-1989)

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.

The History of Conjoined Twins (1990-1999)

A set of Dicephalus Twins, Abigail and Brittany Hensel are born in 1990 in Minnesota. This is an extremely rare type of conjoined twins that has believed to resulted in live births only four times. Today, the two sisters share one body with two heads and are perfectly normal young girls who love to swim, play baseball and other sports. They share one liver, bladder, intestines and reproductive organs but have distinct nervous systems. The two have been featured on numerous TV shows (including ‘Joined at Birth’ on the Discovery Channel) and Time and Life Magazine.

A similar pair of Dicephalus Twins, Eilish and Katie Holton of Ireland, are attempted to be separated in 1992 at age three at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London. The Holton twins were born with four arms (the Hensels had a third arm removed from their forehead as infants) and undergo a 15-hour operation under the care of 25 doctors. Katie dies of heart problems four days after surgery, Eilish survives and now uses an artificial leg to move around.

We’re not sure of their birth date, but we believe that conjoined twin sisters, Gita and Zita, are born in Kirgistan in Central Asia around 1992. As detailed in a German magazine, the twin girls were 10 years old in 2002 and are currently living in a hospital in Munich where doctors hope one day to be able to separate the pair who are connected at the abdomen and share many internal organs.

Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, the same hospital that provided medical care for the world’s first surviving octuplets in 1998, successfully separates Beaumont, Texas twins Tiesha and Iesha Turner on June 9, 1992. The girls were born joined at the chest and abdomen on April 19, 1991. A story on the five-year anniversary of their separation surgery reported that TCH had seen 11 sets of conjoined twins since 1964 with three successful separations.

A rare set of triplets with a conjoined twin set is born in Pakistan on October 8, 1992, Nida, Hira and Fariel Jamal. The twins, Nida and Hira are joined at the head and brought to the United States to be separated in 1995. The surgery is initially thought to be successful but tragically Nida does not survive.

On August 20, 1993, conjoined two-month old sisters Amy and Angela Lakeburg of Indiana are medically separated in a Philadelphia surgery in which it is decided that the weaker Amy will be allowed to die so Angela be given a chance to survive. The two twins, who share just one heart and liver, grip the heart of the United States, but tragically Angela dies less than a year later as well. Later stories reveal the sad news that the Lakeburg’s father sold video rights to the twins separation surgery and used that money to purchase drugs.

The danger of infection among internal organs in conjoined twins is unfortunately shown in a set of twins in England as Chloe and Nicole Astbury succomb to an infection in 1996 despite doctor’s efforts to save the pair. The two girls were born joined together at the breastbone and shared a liver and bowel.

The Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, California performs its first successful separation, separating Shawna Leilani and Janelle Kiana Roderick on May 31, 1996, 30 days after the Prescott, Arizona family delivers the twins. The lead doctor in the surgery was Dr. Gibbs Andrews, who had been involved in two prior separations. The separated girls come through the operation with flying colors. The shows ‘Joined at Birth’ and ‘MSNBC Investigates: Conjoined Twins’ profile the Roderick family.

Weronika and Wiktoria Palen, joined at the chest and abdomen, were successfully separated by a 12-person surgical team at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1999. Both girls are doing well and have returned to their home in Poland.

A rare type of conjoined twins are born in February, 1998 at the Loma Linda University Medical Center near Los Angeles, California with the birth of Gabrielle and Micheala Garcia, a pair of parapagus twins with just two legs between them. The girls are separated at eight months, which is extremely rare in cases of conjoined twins with just two legs.

Another never-before seen type of conjoined twins happens in Boston, Massachusetts in 1999 with the birth of the Soto Twins from Puerto Rico. The two girls share one heart with the healthier twin, Darielis, pumping blood through the umbiblical cord to her sister. It is decided to separate the babies immediately following their birth (if doctors had cut the umbiblical cord both babies would have died), and Darielis survives the Children’s Hospital of Boston surgery and is a healthy little girl living in New Jersey today. As expected, Darielis’ sister does not survive the surgery.

A pair of conjoined twin boys are born on Halloween, October 31, 1999 in Lima, Peru, Luis Angel and Luis Aberto Patiño-Quispe. The twins are cared for initially in Peru and then brought to Miami Children’s Hospital in the United States for successful separation surgery in September, 2000.

Esther Alphonce and her twin sister, Stella, are born in Tanzania in November, 1999. The girls are successfully separated a year later but remain in poor health. Esther sadly passes away on February 22, 2003 of pneumonia and anemia due to malnutrition and poor medical care.

The History of Conjoined Twins (2000)

There were a total of 26 births of conjoined twins around the world that we saw documented during 2000. Almost all of the cases listed on this page (22 of 26) were pairs of girls as well as one fetus in fetu birth of a boy twin. Most research indicates that conjoined twins are 70% female and 30% male, and that perhaps more than half of all conjoined twins are born stillborn with a little more than a third surviving past the first day. Cases below are shown in reverse chronological order:

A set of conjoined twin girls are born at the Pietermaritzburg Edendale Hospital in South Africa on December 22. The mother was from Ixopo, South Africa. They are expected to be surgically separated. Another set of conjoined twins was born at the same hospital 30 years earlier.

A pair of twin boys, Kiti and Piti, are born in Bangkok, Thailand on December 19. Each boy is born with a hole in his heart and they share just one liver and kidney. Kiti and Piti both died following an attempt to separate them.

An unnamed pair of twin boys are delivered stillborn in Abuja, Nigeria on December 6. The twins were apparently dicephalus conjoined twins.

The third pair of conjoined twins we’ve seen reported this year from China are born on November 22 in Jiangsu. The boys undergo unsuccessful separation surgery the day following their birth and both boys pass away within three days according to an Associated Press story.

A pair of boys, Diago and Diego Ataide Leite, are born in rural Campina Grande, Brazil on November 8. The twins are conjoined in the upper body and share a liver. Separation surgery similar to Baby Jodie and Baby Mary was performed on November 19 leading to Diego’s death. The mother of the twins was just 18 years old at the time of delivery.

A pair of girls are born in a hospital in Wenzhou, in east China’s Zhejiang Province on October 24. The twins share a liver and spleen. The parents of the twins found out they were going to have conjoined twins just three days before the mother’s C-Section induced labor.

The first conjoined twins in Portland, Oregon history are born on October 18 with the c-section delivery of girls Alaina and Xela Bryce to parents Taluai and Adrian Bryce of Vancouver, Washington. The two Thoracopagus twin girls are born connected at the abdomen and weigh a combined 12 pounds, 5 ounces. Successful separation surgery was completed on October 31.

The Children’s Hospital of Olympia, Washington reported the successful separation of conjoined Ischiopagus Tripus twin girls, Charity Mae and Kathleen Faith Lincoln on October 2. A team of 20 surgeons and 20 other personnel completed the 30-hour successful separation surgery of the girls joined together from the bottom of the breastbone to the hip (the hospital’s third-such separation). NBC Dateline ran an update on the Lincoln Twins on a Feb. 9, 2001 show and both girls continue to improve. For more on Charity and Kathleen (born February 21, 2000), you can visit the web site their parents Vaniece and Greg helped create.

The third pair of conjoined twin girls born in the country of Columbia this year took place on September 22 in Cartagena as Maria Jose and Maria Fernanda are born joined together at the scalp. Doctors attempted to separate the girls in surgery the next day but Maria Jose died during the surgery and Marie Fernanda suffered respiratory failure and died the next day.

Mary and Decontee Cole were born attached at the bottom of the spine on June 4 in a hut in Liberia. They were successfully separated at the Columbus (OH) Children’s Hospital on September 11 and are expected to make complete recoveries.

A pair of girls, Leydi Johana and Diana Cristina, are born in Medellin, Columbia on September 9. They undergo a risky separation surgery on September 13 and less than 24 hours later, both Leydi and Diana pass away due to respiratory problems. The girls shared four gallbladders at birth.

On August 8, 2000, a pair of conjoined sisters are born in Manchester, England, sharing just one heart and liver. Baby Mary died during surgery on Nov. 6 and 7, while Baby Jodie survived the surgery. For more on this difficult case, please follow our updates online.

An extremely rare case of a fetus in fetu set of twins are born in Texas on July 14. Weylin Kleinman had an 18-week gestational developed fetus growing in his abdomen which was removed seven days after he was born in an operation performed in New York. Weylin had eight operations during his first year of life, including organ transplants of a liver and bowel in Pittsburgh.

Conjoined sisters, Kelvoyna and Kelvondra, are born in Greenville, Mississippi on July 12 to parents, Shennikia Malone and Kelvin Howard. The twins are joined at the hip and stomach and share a liver, bladder and some pelvic bone. They are successfully separated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and return home with their family to Mississippi in time to celebrate their first birthday.

A pair of girls, Yulissa and Yuli Baez, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on July 1. The two were joined at the thorax and shared a heart. Doctors in the Dominican were unable to perform separation surgery or find a US Hospital to perform the surgery and both girls sadly died in August.

A pair of girls born in New York City on June 9. The girls, Janlee & Janlean, are from Puerto Rico, and are attached by the liver, bladder and intestines. Unfortunately, New York doctors were only able to keep Janlean alive following separation surgery that was performed on October 6. Dateline NBC ran an update on the family on May 1, 2001–here’s their web report on the twins. The Luna Rivera family has built a web site devoted to their twins at this location (en Espanol).

A pair of girls born in Columbia, Lorena and Daniela, in June. The two were joined from the waist to the neck and shared one deformed, common heart. Doctors decided against separating the twins after examining them in Spain.

Another set of girls are born in June, the Andrade Twins of Veracruz, Mexico, Maria Carmen and Maria Guadalupe. Like the Columbian Twins listed above, it is also decided that Carmen and Lupita can not be separated as the dicephalous twins share a common chest wall. The twins receive four months of medical attention in New York before returning to Mexico in the fall of 2001. They later return to the United States and their families settle in Connecticut where the girls continue to learn to walk and talk.

A pair of girls born in Rui’an, in east China’s Zhejiang Province on May 28. The twins were born attached at the abdomen and shared a colon and several internal organs. The younger of the twins survived an August 28 separation, but the older sister died eight hours after the surgery. The Huang sisters were ischiopagus tetrapus.

Another pair of Craniopagus twin girls, Ganga and Jamuna Shrestha, are born in Nepal on May 9 to parents Bhushan K.C. and Sandhya Shrestha K.C. They were successfully separated in Singapore in an operation which lasted more than 90 hours from April 6-10, 2001. For more on Ganga and Jamuna, here’s a link to an extensive summary of their birth and separation at the channelnewsasia.com web site.

Taylah and Monique Armstrong, an extremely rare example of Craniopagus Twins (actually connected at the skull with the girls facing back to back from each other) are born in Brisbane, Australia on April 3 to a 21-year-old mother, Pacquita Armstrong. The girls are being treated at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and were successfully separated in October surgery.

Two Peruvian Twins, Marta and Milagro, are born in January. The twins who also shared one heart were brought to Italy and were unsuccessful separated in a surgery in Palermo in mid-May. Both girls died during the surgery.

Another pair of sisters from the Dominican Republic, Jazmin and Nasmil Campusano Frias, who were successfully separated in early January at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey. The twins were connected at the breastbone and upper abdomen and shared one liver. The separation surgery divided their one liver into two smaller, functioning organs. They are doing well and have returned home to their native country.

The Facts About Multiples Web Site also lists the following conjoined twins who were born during the 2000 calendar year: Valerrhea and Valeryn Agnasi (thoracopagus twins from the Phillipines) on February 7, Larissa and Loraine Goncalves ( ischiopagus triups), born in Brazil in July (and later separated successfully), and Faith and Hope Emberson, born in New Zealand on May 2 (Faith and Hope passed away on May 5, Valerrhea and Valeryn pass away following their separation).

The History of Conjoined Twins (2001)

A look at the 13 births and separation surgeries (11 sets of girls, two sets of boys) we saw reported on the Web during the year. Cases are shown in reverse chronological order:

Eman and Sanchia Mowatt are separated in surgery performed at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, England on December 11. The three-month-old girls were connected at the lower back and shared some common spinal cord and bowel. The 15-hour separation surgery was successful.

A pair of unnamed sisters are born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on November 28. The girls were scheduled to be separated in surgery in Cape Town in early December. They share three kidneys and were born connected at the spine.

Ischiopagus Twin sisters Moe Ma Ma Aung and Moe Pa Pa Aung are born in Myanmar (sometimes known as Burma) on July 26, connected at the hip. They are successfully separated in a 14-hour surgery performed in Myanmar on August 11, 2002. According to a news report released by the Mandalay Institute of Medicine, they are the 19th set of Ischiopagus Twins worldwide to be separated.

Twin sisters Jessica Faith and Emily Hope are born at Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital on July 16. It’s the second set of conjoined twins born in Portland in the last year. The girls weighed almost a combined 13 pounds and were born at 37 weeks. They share a heart and are joined at the torso.

Twin boys Ahmed and Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed are born June 2, 2001 in the southern Egyptian town of Qus, near Luxor. The boys are being treated in Cairo and were flown to Dallas, Texas for separation surgery. They were connected at the skull and brain. After several delays, the successful 26-hour surgery takes place on October 12-13, 2003.

Bethany and Alyssa Nolan are born on Thursday, May 3 at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. Remarkably, the craniapogus twins are born at the same hospital as another set of craniapogus twins, Monique and Tay-lah Armstrong. While awaiting possible separation, Bethany had heart failure, forcing an emergency 20-hour separation surgery, in which the 3 1/2-week-old girl succombed. The report on Alyssa a year after the surgery is much better.

A pair of girls, Sydney and Alexandra (Lexi) are born to parents James and Emily Stark in Denver on March 9. The pygopagus twins are conjoined at the lower back and weighed a combined eight pounds at birth. Mrs. Stark is a former Miss Colorado. Visit this thread for updates from their mom Emily who provided us updates about the successful separation of Lexi and Syd!

Twin girls, Cristal Paola and Paola Cristal, were born in New York City on April 10. The parents of the twins had traveled from their native Puerto Rico to New York City to deliver the twins. Weighing a combined nine pounds, the thoracopagus twins share a heart and liver. Sadly, the girls died of heart failure on April 15.

An operation was performed on Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to separate conjoined girls. The twins were seven months old but no other family details were provided.

A set of conjoined twin girls are successfully separated in a surgery in Madrid, Spain on February 14. The 21-month-old twins had been born in Morocco in 1999 and were conjoined from the lower back down.

Mary Grace and Rix Lawler are born and pass away on February 12 in Atlanta, Georgia. The twin girls share a malformed heart and live just one hour. The twins weigh a combined 8 lbs, 15 oz. at birth. This family was also profiled in a TV special called ‘Joined Together’.

A set of conjoined twin girls are born on January 24 in Cheronget village, Kericho, Nairobi. Tests showed the twins share a heart and interior vessels and cannot be separated. Dr. Hosea Waweru said that they had “done all the possible medical examinations on these twins and established that they are completely inseparable.”

A pair of conjoined boys were scheduled to be separated at the Fujian Medical University in Fujian, China in early January. The babies are linked together at the abdomen and chest.

The History of Conjoined Twins (2002)

 

A look at the 15 births and twin separations we saw reported on the Web during the 2002 calendar year. Cases are shown in reverse chronological order:

A rare fetus-in-fetu conjoined twin is removed from a 10-day-old infant in Jordan on December 26. The surviving twin is reported to be in good health following the removal of the fetus twin from her body. This is the second such fetus-in-fetu operation we’ve seen reported on the web in the past two years.

A set of conjoined twin girls, Fire and Folk Nera, are successfully separated in surgery in Bangkok, Thailand in late December. The Siamese Twins (born in Thailand, once Siam–it’s certainly appropriate that the twins can be called Siamese Twins) shared parts of the heart and liver. The successful separation surgery at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital is just the third successful separation (out of 14) performed at that hospital in the past 36 years.

Twin sisters, Azama and Azami Kamarul Zaman, are born in April in Malaysia. They are successfully separated in surgery performed at Kuala Lumpur Hospital in November. The surgery takes 13 hours to complete.

Twin girls, Marisol and Mariana Villalobos, are born in Mexico in September. The parents don’t find out they are having conjoined twins until the 8th month of their pregnancy. Doctors at the Western Medical Center Pediatric Hospital in Guadalajara separated the girls, who shared a pericardium (sac surrounding the heart) but had separate hearts, on February 4, 2003. Marisol died 2 weeks after the operation.

Twin borns originally named Hassan and Hussein but later renamed to Rashid and Hamdan are born August 14 in Baghdad, Iraq. After a plead for support from the twins father, Dubai Crown Prince Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum lends financial assistance for a successful separation performed in November in Dubai. The boys were born joined at the pelvis.

Four-year-old conjoined at the pelvis twins are successfully separated in surgery performed in Saudi Arabia in September. The boys, Ahmad Rosli and Muhamad Rosli, are from Malaysia. Tests performed in England reveal the twins can be separated and then a Saudi prince generously pays for the surgery in late summer.

Guatemalen twin sisters, Maria de Jesus and Maria Teresa Quiej-Alvarez, attract world-wide attention as they are separated at the UCLA Medical Center. The rare separation of Craniopagus twins (joined at the head) takes place in a 22-hour operation that ends early August 6. The twins were born in Suchitepequez, Guatemala on July 25, 2001. They return home to Guatemala with their parents in January, 2003.

Two-month-old twins, Maria de los Angeles and Maria del Milagro Brenes, pass away due to respiratory problems on July 9. The twin sisters had been born in Alajuelita, Costa Rica. They shared a malformed heart and were joined together at the thorax.

A pair of seven-month-old twin girls are separated in surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center on May 17. Louice and Christine Onziga were born in Uganda on October, sharing a heart and liver. A positive prognosis is proclaimed after a difficult separation surgery.

Twin boys . Clarence and Carl Aguirre, are born in Negros Occidental in The Phillipines in May. The craniopagus twins travel to New York in September, 2003 to see if doctors in the United States can separate the pair.

A British couple, . Tina May and Dennis Smith, give birth to twin girls, Natasha and Courtney, on April 29. The two girls share one liver and one heart and initially it is thought that one must be sacrificed in order for the other to live. It’s later determined that neither would likely survive separation surgery and the girls tragically pass away on May 17.

Twin girls . Jazmine and MaKayla Heaberlin, are born at Ohio State University Medical Center on April 24. Joined at the chest and abdomen, they are succesfully separated in surgery on August 30, and are able to return to their Mansfield, Ohio home with their mom, Trinda Kaminski, in early January, 2003.

A pair of four-month-old twin girls are separated in surgery in Cape Town, South Africa on April 18. Zinzi and Zanele Kona had been joined at the abdomen. The 20-hour operation is deemed a success and the future prognosis for both twin girls is very bright.

A pair of five-month-old twin girls are separated in surgery in Indianapolis on March 14. The unnamed girls were born in Indiana. They were connected at the abdomen.

A set of conjoined girls are born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on January 24, and tragically die in separation surgery performed on January 29. The twins, Mim and Alif, briefly survive the separation surgery to become the first twins in their country to survive that type of surgery but each twin dies within 10 hours of the operation.

The History of Conjoined Twins (2003)

This is a look at the 29 sets of births and twin separations we have seen reported on the Web during the current year. Cases are shown in reverse chronological order:

A set of conjoined twin girls (no further information available) are born in Columbia in mid-November.

Infinity and Teal Sanders are born in St. Louis on November 14. The twin girls share a six-chambered heart and suffer many medical problems before both succombing on November 25, living just 10 days.

A set of twin girls are born in Cebu City in the Phillipines on November 12. The twins are named Princess Ann and Princess May by their mom and are born conjoined at the abdomen (most likely being ischiopagus twins).

A pair of baby girls joined at the chest and abdomen are born in Thailand on October 27.

Conjoined twin girls, joined at the stomach, are delivered naturally by a 25-year-old fishmonger from Kormantse, near Saltpond, Ghana on Oct. 20. The mom, Miss Elizabeth Sarbah alias Maame Nyaaba, delivered the twin girls (who have three legs) with the assistance of midwives.

A set of dicephalus twin girls are born in Papau New Guinea on October 12. The twins are taken to Australia for observation where it is determined they can’t be separated. Sadly, the girls die of pneumonia on October 21.

Twin girls are born in China on October 7. It appears that the twins are xipho-omphalopagus and will likely be separated during the year 2004.

A pair of Ischiopagus tripus twin boys are born in India on October 6.

Twin girls are born in Vienna, Austria on October 2 and successfully separated a day later. Michaela and Melanie are born connected at the intestines, a rare but dangerous type of conjoinment but are separated in a relatively brief 7-hour surgery.

A set of conjoined twin girls who also share a fraternal triplet sister are successfully separated in a surgery done in Los Angeles on September 11. The girls were nine months old when separated and were born conjoined at the stomach but no other details on the family is released.

A woman delivers cephalothoracopagus twins in Sify, India on September 11. Sadly, the twins die at birth.

A 15-year-old Venezuelan girl, Johana Vitora, delivers twin girls, Maria Alejandra and Maria Jose, on September 10. The twins are likely thoraco-omphalopagus and are candidates to be separated. At age 15, their mom is one of the youngest ever to deliver conjoined twins.

A set of twin boys are born conjoined in the Kerala region of India on August 8. Tragically, one is stillborn and the other survives just five minutes.

Thoracopagus conjoined twin girls are born July 30 in Thailand to a 20-year-old mother. They evidently share all internal organs from their necks downward and initially doctors were not very optimistic on their survival chances. We believe these twins passed away in mid-November.

Brynleigh and Victoria Smith are born to parents Dawn and Matt Smith in San Antonio, Texas on July 25. The thoracopagus twins are born sharing one six-chambered heart, a liver and suffer from gastroschesis that is fixed in an operation when they are five days old. The family continues to post medical updates on Twinstuff as they fight for survival. Because they share a heart, the twins will not be separated.

A pair of twin boys are born in New Dehli, India on July 16 and later abandoned at a hospital by their natural parents who feel they can not care for their sons. The twins are given nicknames by hospital caregivers, including Nilu (blue) and Pinku (pink). The twins share many internal organs and the question of separation takes a backseat to the more critical decision of who will be able to raise the twins. The twins are later rechristened Sohna and Mohna and are cared for by the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society.

On the same day, July 16, that the twins are born in India, a healthier set of conjoined twin girls are born in Lagos, Nigeria. The twins are joined together at the abdomen and will likely be separated at some point at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. The twin girls are born to Mrs. Kikelomo Shobowale-Davies and Mr. Davies Abayomi Sobowale. The girls are successfully separated on September 11.

Ischiopagus conjoined twin boys, Abdurrahman and Abdurrahim, are born July 13 in Indonesia. Doctors were still trying to determine whether the twins, joined together at the stomach, could be separated. Sadly, the boys die when they are two weeks old due to complications.

One of the world’s few sets of adult conjoined twins died on the operating table on July 8th in an extremely risky operation to separate them. 29-year-old craniopagus conjoined twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani of Iran died from blood losses in the brain shortly after doctors apparently successfully separated their two skulls. Their chances of survival entering the operation were perceived to be no better than 50-50. It’s believed that the Bijani Twins were the second set of adult conjoined twins to be separated in recorded history. The first were the Godino brothers, but they were only separated after one died. The other died a few days later of infection. The Godino brothers were 28 at the time of their separation.

A set of twin girls are born conjoined together in Pakistan on July 8. The twins share a heart and liver and are taken home by their parents to their remote Pakistani village of Chorhutta (less than 60 families) despite doctor’s wishes for the twins to receive proper medical attention at a modern hospital. The twins, Rania & Tania Aziz-Bibi, died on August 28.

An extremely rare set of triplets that also contain conjoined twin girls are born in Argentina on June 21. The delivery by the unnamed mom in San Juan, Argentina, consists of a healthy baby girl, Guadalupe, and twin girls, Lourdes and Lujan, who evidently shared a heart and lungs. The twin girls pass away on July 9, while their triplet sister continues to do well.

Dicephalus twin girls are born in Upper Egypt (Assiut) in early June. The twins, Huda and Manal Abdel Nasser Mohammed Mahmoud, are born to a 26-year-old mother in an apparently normal, full-term pregnancy. The girls initially were thought to have two hearts but sadly live just a few days after their one fused heart stops functioning.

A set of twin girls are born in Northern Greece on June 12. They are being cared for at Ippokratio Hospital in Greece’s main northern city of Thessaloniki. The twins are born conjoined at the forehead. They are successfully separated in a 12-hour surgery that takes place at Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli Hospital on October 11.

A pair of conjoined twin boys, Hassan and Hossain Halim-Begum, are born in Hasanpur, Bangladesh on April 18. They are successfully separated in surgery performed in Dkaha on June 24. Tragically, Hossain later passes away on July 28.

Conjoined twins succomb after 22 days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as they await separation surgery on April 17. The twins, Mohd Khairul Ihwan Ishak and Mohd Khairul Azwan Ishak, were born attached at the chest and shared a heart.

Another pair of conjoined twin boys are born in Jakarta, Indonesia in early April. Doctors are planning on waiting several months to see if the boys, Hafizd and Harits, can be separated.

A set of 11-year-old conjoined girls, Zita and Gita Rezakhonovy, are successfully separated in Moscow, Russia on April 2.. The 10-hour surgery to separate the girls who share one urinary bladder, two kidneys, one pelvis and three legs, is deemed successful by hospital surgeons who perform the operation for free.

Twin thoracopagus girls, Yahaira and Areli Castaneda, are born in Guadalajara, Mexico on March 12. After it is determined that the girls share a fused heart, doctors realize they cannot separate the twins and the twins sadly pass away on March 31.

A set of twin girls, Min Ji Hye and Sa Rang, are born in South Korea on March 3. The girls were born joined at the lower spine and were successfully separated in July in Singapore at Raffles Hospital, the third set of conjoined twins to be operated on at that Singapore hospital in a year.

Twin girls are successfully separated in surgery performed at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital on January 15. Jannat & Zainab Rahman, born on December 1, 2002, undergo a successful four-hour surgery that separates the twin girls who had born connected at the chest and abdomen.

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