Categotry Archives: Medicine


Laden and Laleh Bijani


Categories: Extraordinary People, Medicine

After almost three decades together, Laden and Laleh Bijani just wanted to live separate lives. But the operation that was meant to grant the conjoined Iranian twins their wish ended up killing them instead.

Despite being conjoined at the head, the sisters sought separate futures. Ladan wanted to return to Shiraz to study law. Laleh planned to move to Teheran and work as a journalist. They knew the four-day surgery was risky; doctors only gave them a 50-50 chance of survival.

On Sunday, an international team of neurosurgeons and support staff at Raffles Hospital in Singapore began the procedure. Once the twins were separated, doctors planned to take a skin graft from their thighs to cover their exposed brains. But during the surgery, circulation between the twins became unstable and they both lost a lot of blood.

Laden and Laleh Bijani died on July 8. They were 29.


Rachel Millet


Categories: Extraordinary People, Medicine, Writers/Editors

Rachel Millet was an independent young Englishwoman who earned a medal for bravery during World War II.

Millet, nee Howell-Evans, was a nurse at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital for three years before becoming a matron at a prep school. When war broke out, she joined the Mechanised Transport Corps and learned first aid, map-reading and car maintenance.

After the Fall of France, Millet was recruited as a driver and nurse of the Hadfield-Spears mobile hospital. She was sent to North Africa to aid surgeons with the 1st Division of the Free French. Though she helped out on the wards when it was busy, Millet’s main job was driving and maintaining her Ford truck.

Her unit followed the Allies to Italy, where she was asked to join a small French Commando party landing in the South of France. They arrived at night on the wrong beach, and were attacked by American bombers the next morning who thought they were Germans. She was eventually awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery for that mission.

In 1946, she married Rene Millet, who worked in the French diplomatic service. The couple traveled to Ankara, Johannesburg and Bangkok, where she helped to start a center for the blind.

Her autobiography, “Spearette: a Memoir of the Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit 1940-1945,” was published in 1998.

Millet died on June 1. Cause of death was not released. She was 89.


Pasquale Garramone

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Categories: Medicine

Dr. Pasquale Garramone, a pioneer in medicine and physical therapy, died. Cause of death was not released. He was 95.
When he was 14, Garramone lost his left leg to osteomyelitis, a bone inflammation. The doctors who saved his life also inspired him to join the profession and aid other amputees.
For more than 50 years, Garramone helped thousands of wounded World War II veterans adapt to their combat disabilities. While on staff at Oak Forest Hospital in Oak Forest, Ill., Garramone ran the physical medicine department and assisted in the development of a new harness system for prosthetic legs.


Gregory J. White

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Categories: Medicine

Gregory J. White, a doctor who helped promote breastfeeding on a national scale, died on June 16 from complications of leukemia. He was 82.
Fifty years ago, Dr. White encouraged his wife, Mary, and her friends to form a support group for mothers who wanted to breastfeed their babies. At the time, bottlefeeding was the norm. Reader’s Digest wrote about the group and women from all over the U.S. wrote letters, asking for advice on the subject.
In 1956, Mary White founded La Leche League International, an organization that provides information about the benefits of breastfeeding. Dr. White served as a member of its professional advisory board for 46 years.
Dr. White also promoted home births, natural childbirth, the inclusion of fathers in the delivery room and the pro-life cause. He was the father of 11 children.

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