Medicine: Siamese Severed

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In 1908, Lucio & Simplicio Godino, Filipinos, were born on the Island of Samar in the Philippines. Due to a monstrous accident of gestation, they were firmly bound at the tail bones by a link of muscle, fibre and intestine. Simplicio's digestive tract ended in a blind pocket of gut about half an inch short of where it should have ended. He drained through the connecting link into his Brother Lucio's normal colon.

Except for the linkage of their bowels, the twins were normal entities. They differed slightly in size, considerably in temperament. Lucio, the smaller, was impetuous, the leader. He usually walked forward, while bigger, more phlegmatic Simplicio trailed backward. Simplicio habitually slept on his right side, Lucio on his left. Thus Lucio's heart had more work to do at night than Simplicio's, a fact which may have contributed to their differences, for being identical twins, product of the same ovum, they should have been mirror images of each other.

In 1929 Simplicio & Lucio Godino made world news by applying for licenses to marry Natividad and Victorina Motos in Manila. The marriage license clerk objected for fear of compounding collateral bigamy but the sisters and brothers eventually were married. They organized a vaudeville act in which they danced, saxophoned and bantered through South and North America.

Last month they played in Greenville, N. C. From Greenville the bivalent Godinos motored to Manhattan where they rented an apartment in the theatrical district off Broadway. Lucio had caught a nasty cold during the motor trip. Soon he called in Dr. Benjamin Fabricant, a young physician four years out of New York University Medical School who had an office in the Godinos' apartment building. When the cold proved to be pneumonia, Dr. Fabricant sent sick Lucio and healthy Simplicio to York Hospital, a small private institution. The Press discovered the case, piled into the hospital, photographed the strange sickbed, the grieving wives, reported that Simplicio was ravenous for a cigaret, irked that Lucio's illness prohibited him from having it. Then the story ceased to be funny.

Lucio Godino died.

At any time in their lives the Godinos could have undergone a comparatively simple operation, got free of each other.

They preferred to remain joined because their affliction was their livelihood. Most Siamese twins have the same idea. When Surgeon Hippolyte Marcus Wertheim of York Hospital cut (without anesthesia) dead Lucio away from live Simplicio, he was performing the first operation of its kind on adult Siamese twins.

The Godino link was 24 in. in circumference, 3 in. long. Within a few hours of Lucio's death, Dr. Wertheim perforated Simplicio's anus, brought down the blind end of the gut, snipped it open and stitched it to the rim of the new opening.

He then closed the old opening in the man's loin. In a week or two Simplicio Godino will be out of the hospital, obliged to learn and earn an entirely new way of living.

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