The Lesser of Two Evils: A Contextual View of the English Case of the Conjoined Twins
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2003; 22(1): 1-9
In 2000 conjoined twin girls were born in Manchester, England. They were joined in such a way that it was impossible to separate them to enable both twins to survive. Their bodies were fused at the lower abdomen and they shared an aorta and a bladder. Their arms and legs were at right angles to their conjoined trunk. The situation of the conjoined twins is of supreme importance as a private tragedy for their family. The resulting litigation also presents an important landmark in English law. In deciding the fate of the two children, the Court of Appeal provided an authoritative review, analysis and application of family law and medical law with regard to neonates. The most significant legal legacy of the case, however, may well be in the field of criminal law by way of the court's interpretation and application of the defences of necessity and self-defence.
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