• U.S.

Medicine: Gut-Joined Twins

1 minute read

Obstetricians at Mercy Hospital, Baltimore last week were at first vexed by the labor of delivering twins from Mrs. Albert Forster, wife of a railroad brakeman. Then they were dumbfounded by the discovery that the twins were a monster joined abdominally by a tube more than a foot long. Finally the doctors were delighted: the twins lived after being cut apart.

The Forster twins are females in appearance. Both lack anal openings, which is an early embryonic condition. Like young animal embryos and full grown birds, each has a single opening, or cloaca, for its urogenital and rectal passages. The tube which joined these children contained the great gut (colon) of both.

When Dr. Kyle Wood Golley and Dr. Edward Patrick Smith saw what Mrs. Forster was producing, they sent a hurry call for Surgeon Daniel James Pessagno. He cut the children apart, left each about an inch of colon. He used no anesthetic, for newborn children feel no pain. Since it is possible to exist without a colon, Mrs. Forster’s children may live long. If so, surgeons will try to naturalize their orifices.

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