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Case Number 23677: Small Claims Court

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Separating Twins

PBS // 2010 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 15th, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is getting all of his surgeries done in Australia from now on, minimally-invasive or not.

The Charge

Whoa.

The Case

You probably remember this story. Conjoined twin girls from Bangladesh, attached at the head, abandoned at a Bangladesh orphanage, and taken in by a compassionate aid worker from Australia. What to do? Get them healthy enough to endure a landmark separation surgery that holds a slim chance for survival, but—if successful—would make history.

Yeah, I have to spoil it: Both kids survived.

The path to survival is riveting stuff and this NOVA documentary captures all the science and human drama that engulfed the journey. And there is plenty of both to be found here.

The Science
In a word: amazing. The jaw-dropping series of surgeries—a true marathon of operations—stands tall as one of the great achievements in medical history. NOVA applies its academic chops to the procedures and goes in depth about everything, from how the twins ended up conjoined in the first place, to the staggering network of arteries, veins, and brain geography that had to be navigated and then rerouted to ensure survival. Fantastic stuff.

The Drama
The diagrams, charts, and biology are impressive, but it takes sentimentality to place the science in perspective. I defy you to look at these two girls, barely healthy, glued to each other in a painfully awkward position, and not feel it in your guts. Separating Twins captures some hard-hitting reactions from their adoptive mother, assorted loved ones, and supporters. Makes you pull for the surgical team all the more. A very solid offering from wire to wire, one that appeals to both the heart and the head.

The disc is adequate: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 2.0 stereo, no extras. The lack of bonus content is a missed opportunity.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. This is why surgeons get all the girls.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: PBS
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre:
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• None

Accomplices

• IMDb








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