In conjoined twins, these chemical messages do not work properly.The results can be bizarre, like a single organism with two heads, two hearts, four legs and arms.
Jodie and Mary were conjoined twins. They each had their own brain, heart, lungs, other vital organs and each of them had arms and legs. They were joined at the lower abdomen and it was decided by the medical authorities of the UK that they could be successfully separated upon. However, this operation would kill the weaker twin, Mary, because her lungs and heart were too weak to oxygenate and pump blood through her body. Had she not been born a conjoined twin, she would not have been able to live and resuscitation would have been abandoned. She would have died shortly after birth. She was alive only because a common artery enabled her sister, who was stronger, to circulate life sustaining oxygenated blood through her body. Separation would require the clamping and then the severing of that common artery and within minutes of doing so, Mary would die.
However, if the operation did not take place, both would die within three to six months, or perhaps a little longer, because Jodie's heart would eventually fail. The parents could not bring themselves to consent to the operation. The twins were equal in their eyes and they could not agree to kill one even to save the other.
As devout Roman Catholics, they believed that their children's afflic...
The medical classification of this type of conjoined twins is termed as Ischiopagus tetrapus and in such twins there is a fusion at the pelvic level often with a sharing of genitourinary structures, rectum and the liver. The consequence of the surgical intervention was that Mary quickly died and Jodie survived.
Conjoined twins exist on the margins of our notions of embodiment and individuality. They challenge the boundaries of medical, ethical and legal possibility and permissibility and their existence poses a threat to entrenched social values about the worth of lives that differ from the norm of one individual, one body2.
Numerous instances of the high profile sacrificial separation of conjoined twins have highlighted the fact that separation decisions seem to be reached on a case-by-case basis. Further, these decisions have been made based on their perceived merit, which does nothing for the internal coherence of the reasoning in the case. Since, judges may agree on outcomes but for different reasons, this presents a problem in the application of precedents, or for the case's coherence within the law, and a deserving outcome in one case may cause tensions in related law. As is often said, 'hard cases make bad law'.
In Airedale N.H.S. Trust v Bland in House of Lords, Lord Browne-Wilkinson gave a judgment, which was at the same time excellent and most instructive in respect of euthanasia. In this case, withdrawal of life support systems was permitted3. The common law in UK allows people to decide for themselves, whether to agree to have surgery or medicine and further, that this right also implies the right to refuse such treatment even if such rejection results in death. This point in law has always been recognized by the courts.