Technology How the first successful separation of Siamese sisters happened

How the first successful separation of Siamese sisters happened

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When they were born on November 23, 1689, little Elisabeth and Catherina were attached to the umbilicus and the xiphoid appendix.

the first successful separation of conjoined twins was carried out by surgeon Johannes Fatio in 1969 in Switzerland, in Basel.
the first successful separation of conjoined twins was carried out by surgeon Johannes Fatio in 1969 in Switzerland, in Basel. ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP

On November 23, 1689, joy disputed him over misfortune in this village on the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland. Clementia, 42, has just given two daughters to her husband, Martin. But little Elisabeth and Catherina are much more than twin: they are Siamese, attached to the level of the umbilicus and the xiphoid appendix (the lower part of the sternum).

Such a presentation would almost be seen as a formality for modern medicine. But in 17th century Europee century, obstetrics remains a hazardous art and neonatal mortality is very important.

Meeting with surgeon Johannes Fatio

Little Swiss women are lucky. The day after their birth, their path crosses that of Johannes Fatio, surgeon consulted by the doctor Samuel Braun. The son of a Protestant merchant who had taken refuge in Italy, he apprenticed to a barber-surgeon before being admitted to the guild, then studying at the University of Valencia.

When we submit the case of these two girls, he consults with some illustrious colleagues,

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