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LHS-Chicago Exhibit Documents Surgical Breakthrough

The groundbreaking separation of a pair of conjoined twins is documented in an exhibit of papers, photographs and other materials at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Library of the Health Sciences – Chicago .

In 1952, Dr. Oscar Sugar (1914-2008), a faculty member of the University of Illinois Department of Neurosurgery, led the pioneering surgery to separate a pair of craniopagus twins—twins joined at the head. The process had been attempted only twice before, both times unsuccessfully.

The exhibit that commemorates this milestone is on the first floor of the Library of the Health Sciences – Chicago, available for viewing at all times that the Library is open.

Rodney and Roger Brodie, the two infant boys, were born in 1951. Their parents brought them to the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital where they stayed for a year of observation and doctors’ consultations to determine if surgical separation was possible. Sugar, Pediatrician Herbert Grossman, Anesthesiologist Max Sadove and others performed the surgery in a daylong operation on Dec. 17, 1952.

While Roger made it through the surgery, he never regained consciousness and died approximately five weeks later. Rodney survived and lived at the hospital for further surgery and intense rehabilitation for five years.

Rodney eventually returned with his large family to their home in Ferris, Illinois. He lived a happy life with them but was beset by numerous complications resulting from the separation and died in 1963 at the age of eleven.

The University Archives holds the papers of both Dr. Grossman and Dr. Sugar. Researchers can examine them in the LHS - Chicago Special Collections department., field_56ba6f8fdb00c

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