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#1
Old 04-22-2013, 08:49 PM
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Can one half of a siamese twin die without the other dying?

Say one gets shot in the head, but there is a crack team of world-class surgeons ready to immediately try and save the other. What happens?
#2
Old 04-22-2013, 08:57 PM
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Sure, why not?

Oh, you mean conjoined twins, that's a different matter.
#3
Old 04-22-2013, 09:00 PM
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There have been conjoined twins where one died during seperation surgery and the other survived. The surgeons enabled one of the twins to live, knowing the other could not survive the surgery. However, both would have died otherwise.

Last edited by TriPolar; 04-22-2013 at 09:02 PM.
#4
Old 04-22-2013, 09:02 PM
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Well, it's not exactly the same, but something close has happened.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_and_Eng_Bunker

Chang died of pneumonia in his sleep. Doctors were summoned for an emergency separation, but they were unable to save Eng, who died three hours later.
#5
Old 04-22-2013, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by YourAdHere View Post
Well, it's not exactly the same, but something close has happened.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_and_Eng_Bunker

Chang died of pneumonia in his sleep. Doctors were summoned for an emergency separation, but they were unable to save Eng, who died three hours later.
Chang and Eng fathered a total of 21 children with 2 different women. How did that work? I would imagine one would have to watch while the other had sex.
#6
Old 04-23-2013, 01:34 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucio_and_Simplicio_Godina

One died of pneumonia, separation was attempted but the other died of one of the expected complications, spinal meningitis - bacteria (or the virus ? )floating around got into the spine as a result of surgery.

Last edited by Isilder; 04-23-2013 at 01:39 AM.
#7
Old 04-23-2013, 10:33 AM
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I've seen a couple of documentaries about conjoined twins Lori and George Schappell. Irrc they have a standing arrangement with surgeons that in the event of irrevocable damage to one they will attempt separation to save the other. I would imagine this is a dilemma that other conjoined twins will have thought about and provided instructions for. Each case is of course different and some may share organs in such a way that neither could survive alone.
#8
Old 04-23-2013, 12:16 PM
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I'd imagine that it makes a huge difference whether the first one died of disease or of trauma. Disease is far more likely to kill both. In the OP's case of a gunshot wound to 1 of the brains, couldn't the entire rest of the body be kept alive for quite a while?
#9
Old 04-23-2013, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by thicksantorum View Post
I'd imagine that it makes a huge difference whether the first one died of disease or of trauma. Disease is far more likely to kill both. In the OP's case of a gunshot wound to 1 of the brains, couldn't the entire rest of the body be kept alive for quite a while?
Depends on how they are 'configured'. Some twins are barely connected, others are sharing or have fused organs. At least there's no ethical dilemma in harvesting the dead twins organs to save the live one.
#10
Old 04-23-2013, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Chang and Eng fathered a total of 21 children with 2 different women. How did that work? I would imagine one would have to watch while the other had sex.
So? Victorian people had more kink going than they ever let on. Maybe they conducted foursomes.
#11
Old 04-23-2013, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
So? Victorian people had more kink going than they ever let on. Maybe they conducted foursomes.
They married sisters, in fact, and they started out sharing a huge bed. But that didn't work out, so they got one house for each of their wives to live in and alternated days. They also owned slaves. Talk about a crazy life.

But back to the OP, I'd assume that the living conjoined twin could survive as long as there was any way to separate the two. It could be possible that surgeons never tried it before because it would have definitely caused the death of one or the other, which wouldn't be a concern anymore with one already dead. If they weren't separable at all then there'd be some necrotic tissue and that would inevitably kill the living twin with some horrible infection.
#12
Old 04-23-2013, 01:34 PM
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I recall reading somewhere that the other twin would read while his brother was doing the nasty. I think they had a lot of kids, so it didn't seem to get in the way.
#13
Old 04-23-2013, 01:46 PM
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It seems to me that if they could be separated easily (i.e. both twins have fully functional organs), they would have done so long before the other got shot in the head.

So the conjoined twins who stay conjoined twins long enough for this scenario to come up are those who are very difficult or impossible to separate in the first place-- in which case the prospect for the surviving twin is pretty dire, as the above examples of failed separations shows.
#14
Old 04-23-2013, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites View Post
Chang and Eng fathered a total of 21 children with 2 different women. How did that work? I would imagine one would have to watch while the other had sex.
This comes up often when people talk about conjoined twins. But if you want to, you can try to convince yourself they are two separate people, with different ideals. Often, in interviews, conjoined twins claim to be able to "tune out" incredibly personal things. Then again, the famous Iranian conjoined twins had to both take the same courses, because one would feed answers to the other otherwise. Look at it this way -- a blind person who uses a seeing eye dog is, for some applications, "attached" to the dog, but we see them as separate sometimes, so we decide to say they're always separate -- being different species and all. We never confuse a paraplegic with their wheelchair -- yes, its an object. We could apply the same to conjoined twins at certain points, for our convenience.

In Chang and Eg's case, they had two houses some distance apart. They spent time in each house, and when they were in one man's house, the other was his guest. The owner maintained house rules, and the other was as polite about it as possible. At Chang's house, dinner was what Chang wanted, when he wanted it, for example.

"Bu ... bu ... but, I don't mean food ... I mean fucking! You can't do that next to me and expect me to be a good guest about it!"

There is no other option, and this is how humans adapt.

IIRC, Chang was a drinker, and was somewhat more argumentative than Eg. It was Eg's turn to go home, but the weather was bad, and Chang had a cold. SO Eg said to just wait a day. But Chang wasn't going to break their deal. So they went in an open carriage, and got sicker and died.
#15
Old 04-23-2013, 02:24 PM
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They're usually only very difficult to separate without killing one of them, though. If one is already dead, it's a matter of stuffing the essential organs into a single body and lopping off the rest. Most of the cases mentioned were deaths caused by infections.
#16
Old 04-23-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ambrosio Spinola View Post
They married sisters, in fact, and they started out sharing a huge bed. But that didn't work out, so they got one house for each of their wives to live in and alternated days. They also owned slaves. Talk about a crazy life.
Even crazier when you realize that they were interracial couples, living in the antebellum South. If you made a movie like this, people whould laugh at it for being so absurd, but it was all quite real.
#17
Old 04-23-2013, 03:24 PM
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What about WITHOUT splitting them? Gunshot wound to the head, for example: would the body with the living brain keep the other side on life support?

Last edited by Flander; 04-23-2013 at 03:24 PM.
#18
Old 04-23-2013, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I recall reading somewhere that the other twin would read while his brother was doing the nasty...
Missionary, doggie, cowgirl, which? Anyway, my BSometer just went off the chart.

That must be some engrossing book. What would you do in a similar situation?



And they had to sit on the crapper together. A double, for efficiency?

BTW, "a" Siamese twin is one of them, I presume, so to which half of whom does OP refer?
#19
Old 04-23-2013, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Flander View Post
What about WITHOUT splitting them? Gunshot wound to the head, for example: would the body with the living brain keep the other side on life support?
Doubtful that one heart could pump enough blood for two bodies (depending on their anatomical configuration; this assumes two more or less complete bodies as far as vital organs go).
#20
Old 04-23-2013, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Scarlett67 View Post
Doubtful that one heart could pump enough blood for two bodies (depending on their anatomical configuration; this assumes two more or less complete bodies as far as vital organs go).
I thought about that, too. Would the single set of lungs be able to keep up with the double body demand? The dead heart would also mostly like impede the blood flow about the dead side. Portions of that side may die off sonner or later.








Better hurry up and give yourself that stranger before the numb hand falls off.
#21
Old 04-23-2013, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambrosio Spinola View Post
They married sisters, in fact, and they started out sharing a huge bed. But that didn't work out, so they got one house for each of their wives to live in and alternated days. They also owned slaves. Talk about a crazy life...
Legally the Bunker brothers were considered white under state law. Being white wasn't a legal requirment to own slaves, but it sure as hell was to marry a white woman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thicksantorum View Post
They're usually only very difficult to separate without killing one of them, though. If one is already dead, it's a matter of stuffing the essential organs into a single body and lopping off the rest. Most of the cases mentioned were deaths caused by infections.
It'd be a trivial matter to seperate Chan and Eng with modern medicine; it wouldn've been done as a matter of routine in any first world country while they were still infants. Even 19th century medicine it would've been possible to seperate them and expect at least one to survive if they could avoid infection. Of course 19th surgeons would also have no way of knowing just what tissue they shared with cutting them open.
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#22
Old 04-24-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Missionary, doggie, cowgirl, which? Anyway, my BSometer just went off the chart.

That must be some engrossing book. What would you do in a similar situation?
It's no myth that they had 21 children between the two of them, so obviously they were able to work out the logistics of reproduction somehow.
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