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“Could Conjoined Twins Share A Mind” Response

Susan Dominus, Staff Writer for the New York Times Magazine, published “Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?” on May 25, 2011; an article covering the struggles of craniopagus twins Tatiana and Krista Hogan. The 4 year old girls’ condition is rare, because they not only acquire fused skulls but share a thalamus. The thalamus is a switchboard and in the twins’ condition, a bridge where their sensory input is shared: when one twin is affected by a sight, taste, or touch, the other twin reacts accordingly. The family resides in British Columbia in a small town called Vernon. The twins live with their immediate as well as extended family including: Felicia Simms (mother), Brendan Hogan(father), Christopher (brother), Rosa(sister), and Shaylee(sister), maternal grandparents, aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Despite their desperate financial need and the twins’ rare medical condition, the Simms-Hogan household is filled with love, understanding, and what they consider normalcy. Dominus shares life-altering decisions parents Felicia Simms and Brendan Hogan faced including whether or not to abort the pregnancy after discovering they conceived conjoined twins, whether or not to separate them, and if to subject the twins as well as the family to be watched by the public eye. The family has been offered a television series which would be filmed in their hectic home. The parents must decide if this will have a positive effect on Americans perception of Tatiana and Krista or further alienate the twins who are beginning kindergarten soon.

I appreciated Dominus’ style of writing on this article: casual but factual. I also appreciated how she shared not only facts of the twins’ heinous medical condition but personal stories as well. The author was also able to effectively shed light on any definitions she thought the reader would appreciate while reading such as “craniopagus”. Dominus also continuously brought up topics or concepts for philosophical debate. Dominus opened and closed her article with personal experiences she had with the twins Krista and Tatiana. I appreciated this article especially because throughout the article the author was able to answer all the questions that arose in my mind as I was reading it. I finished the article as a more enlightened and open individual. Both twins have bright futures despite their medical setback and criticism.



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