A message circulating via email and social media claims that an attached image depicts conjoined twins separated in an operation conducted by Dr Ben Carson in 1987. The image features a photograph of the conjoined twins before the operation and another supposedly depicting them in more recent times as healthy young adults.
Dr Carson and his team did conduct groundbreaking surgery to separate German conjoined twins Benjamin and Patrick Binder in 1987. However, the first photograph depicts Canadian twins Krista and Tatiana Hogan, not the Binder twins. And, the second photograph certainly does not show the Binder twins as adults but rather the (never conjoined) Gormley twins from Lake Fenton, Michigan. Although the operation to separate was successful, the Binder twins were nevertheless severely disabled and later went to live at a home for disabled children in Germany. One of the twins has reportedly died. (Review Detailed Analysis below for more information).
According to a message making its way around the Internet via social media, email, and the blogosphere, an attached image depicts conjoined twins that Dr Ben Carson separated back in a 1987 operation. The image features two photographs, one atop the other.
The top photograph supposedly shows the conjoined twins before the operation. The second photograph supposedly shows the same – now separated – twins years later as healthy and happy young adults.
Dr Ben Carson and his medical team did indeed – very famously – separate conjoined twins Benjamin and Patrick Binder in a groundbreaking operation back in 1987. The twins were brought from their home in Germany for the operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
However, the story did not have the happy ending that the image suggests. Moreover, neither photograph actually depicts the Binder twins.
The first photograph in the pair depicts the Canadian twins Krista and Tatiana Hogan. The family of the twins has confirmed via their Facebook Page that the top image shows Tatiana and Krista in their early infancy.
The second photograph shows identical twins Cramer and Carson Gormley from Lake Fenton, Michigan. The photograph, along with other pictures of the Gormley twins, was featured in a February 2008 news report about the financial challenges of raising twins. The boys were 18 years old at the time the photograph was taken.
Sadly, although Dr Carson’s surgery did successfully separate the Binder twins, the long-term health outcomes for Benjamin and Patrick were far from ideal. After the 1987 operation, the boys moved back to Germany with their parents.
While Dr Carson’s fame continued to grow, news of the Binder twins was scarce indeed and, in time, they all but disappeared from public attention. But, according to a 2015 report by The Washington Post, the boys were ‘hopelessly delayed’ and, years after the operation, ‘neither boy could get around on his own or feed himself’. Later, their mother Theresia Binder found she was unable to cope with the boys on her own and they went to live at a home for disabled children as wards of the state. Patrick Binder reportedly died some time ago. Benjamin Binder is reportedly doing ‘relatively well’ but still cannot speak.
Thus the fate of the Binder twins was a far cry from that of the healthy young Gormley twins who are the real subjects of the second image. For those that may still harbour doubts about the real subjects of the second photograph, note the Lake Fenton name and logos on Cramer and Carson’s shirts in this and other photographs. Of course, the German twins would be quite unlikely to be wearing such shirts.
Alas, the pictures depicting Krista and Tatianna Hogan and Cramer and Carson Gormley was included in a March 2016 Daily Mail article about the Binder Twins with the headline ‘Here Are 2 former Conjoined Patients of Dr Ben Carson “Patrick Binder and Benjamin Binder” Years After Successful Surgery’. Of course, this is far from the first time that the Daily Mail has got facts wrong in its ‘news’ reports. But, unfortunately, many people still consider it a credible news publication and will take all of its stories at face value.