Conjoined Twins and "The End"

I was watching a talk show on conjoined or “Siamese” twins and everyone indicated that when one of the twins died, the other would have to follow.

Why is this?

I mean I can see why if they were sharing a liver why they couldn’t be seperated but if twin a gets shot why (assuming blood loss is not massive or infection isn’t massive) couldn’t they use the liver on the other one?

      • The reason depends on the extent of conjoinment, particularly which organs are shared and which are not. Some twins are each complete (or, viable) people joined by a tissue bridge; others are two spines on one pelvis, sharing multiple critical (single) organs. Obviously, the first has a much better chance of surviving separation than the second.
  • One example would be two twins sharing the lower torso but with separate hearts. If one dies (let’s say, by being shot through the heart) and doesn’t introduce infection from the initial wound, it isn’t likely that the other’s circulatory system will supply enough blood to the first’s brain to prevent it from decomposing and massive infection results anyway. Circulatory systems are commonly linked, but only near the point of enjoinment; elsewhere not well enough that one can completely supply adequate oxygen to the other should it “die”. - MC

Lord, I could not imagine anything more horrible than to be the “surviving twin” in one of those arrangements. I still shudder when I remember reading about the ultimate demise of Chang and Eng, those famous Siameses (twin) doods. (One of which sired so many children, what the hell could that have been like for his wife?)

Now a queston that I have always had was who controlls the conected parts? For example if a set of twins share a pair of legs which twin has the ability to deside if the right foot goes first or the left. Can one twin control the other by making it imposable to walk?

Bad spellers of the world… UNTIE


Oh do tell. I haven’t ever heard about the Sad Demise of Chang and Eng. You’ve got me curious, now.

Chang and Eng Bunker were the source of the name “Siamese” twins. They were born in Thailand (Siam) in 1811. They were joined at the chest by (says here) a “cartilaginous band” and fathered 10 and 12 children respectively. (Guess they were both some horny-assed dudes).

They died within 3 hours of each other at the age of 62. Yow. I can’t imagine anything more ghastly than being attached to your own death with it literally staring you in the face for three hours. I wonder if the survivor tried doing something he’d always wanted to do “by himself”? Play solitaire without a kibbitzer? Eat a whole bag of M&M’s without having someone drooling on your neck? I dunno… (shudder)

According to Time magazine, The Hensel twins have control of one arm each. See the article at

IIRC the Life mag story I read says their legs are the same way. The only reference on the site is the cover:

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”