Surgery in progress at the Metropolitan Hospital Training School for Nurses on Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island), New York City. c1915. Public domain /

By Liana Jacob

CHILLING black and white photographs from the 19th and 20th century reveal behind the scenes shots of pioneering surgical staff attending to patients just like the characters from the hit US television series The Knick starring British actor Clive Owen.

Dr. Eugne-Louis Doyen performing surgery to separate conjoined twins Radica and Doodica in 1902. Public domain /

The fascinating series of vintage photos include Siamese twins (Radica and Doodica) being separated by doctors in 1902.

Another phenomenal photo shows a doctor placing a patient under anaesthesia in 1922 after Novocain was officially the drug they used.

Surgery 1922. Public domain /

The medical attire in some images would be deemed as controversial by doctors today when wearing masks and gloves are essential for hygiene purposes.

The female Siamese twins, also known as Hindoo Twins and The Orissa Twins, were born in Orissa, India, in 1888 and were attached at the chest by a band of cartilage.

The moment they were born, they were run out of town by the villagers, who saw them as a sign of “divine wrath”.

Surgery 1922. Public domain /

In 1893, they were sold by their parents to Captain Colman, a showman from London, who wanted to display them in Europe.

Following the contraction of tuberculosis by Doodica, the Siamese twins were rushed to Paris to be separated by French surgeon, Eugene-Louis Doyen.

Dr. John C. Boyde, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery c1890. Public domain /

Dr Doyen was considered controversial at the time due to his fascination of filming surgical operations for use as a teaching guide.

An eight-minute video of the operation was screened at meetings in Paris and Berlin. However, while the operation was deemed a success, and Radica survived the operation, her twin sister Doodica died a week afterwards.

A man and a woman working in an operating room c1908. Public domain /