Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova
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Mariya and Darya Krivoshlyapova (Мария и Дарья Кривошляповы) (officially with one birth certificate under the name "Dariya Krivoshlyapova") (3 January 1950 – 17 April 2003, Moscow) were Russian conjoined twins of the Ischiopagus tripus variety.
They were removed from their mother's custody at birth. The mother was told that the sisters died moments after childbirth. The twins were actually being kept in an institution where they were the subjects of medical research and experimentation.
Masha and Dasha were born with two heads, four arms and three legs. Their spines were connected at a 90 degree angle. Doctors told their mother that they had died of pneumonia moments after birth and took them.
For 7 years, the Institute of Pediatrics Medical Sciences studied them, including physiologist Pyotr Anokhin. They were then placed in the Central Scientific Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics. There the girls learned to walk with crutches and were given a basic education. For 20 years, the sisters were "guinea pigs" for researchers for the rare case dicephales tetrabrachius dipus. The sisters were subjected to cruel experiments in order to determine which anatomical systems they shared. One sister would be placed in iced water, while doctors monitored the other's body temperature, or else one would be poked with needles to see if the other cried.
The sisters learned to walk after many years of training, each of them controlled her own leg. The third leg was amputated during the sisters' adolescent years.
Unlike the Hensel sisters, who moved without much difficulty, the Krivoshlyapova sisters could only move very slowly, with each step requiring considerable effort. Consequently, the sisters were not able to work and lived on their disability pension.
In 1964 Masha and Dasha were placed in a boarding school for children with motor skills, located in Novocherkassk. In total, the twins lived for nearly 40 years in the Soviet institutions for the disabled. In 1989 they moved into their own home in Moscow. The sisters were offered surgery by doctors numerous times to separate them, but always refused. Shortly before their death, at the invitation of a French company, they visited Paris.
Toward the end of their life, their way of life was beginning to affect their health, due in part to alcoholism. Masha and Dasha suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and pulmonary edema. After many years of struggle against alcohol dependence, Masha died on 17 April 2003 of a heart attack. Dasha died 17 hours later, after refusing to be separated.
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