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Woman gives birth to ‘mermaid’ baby in India



Woman gives birth to ‘mermaid’ baby in India


Story by Sagaya FernandoMumbai: April 5, 2018


In a rare case of Sirenomelia – mermaid syndrome – a baby was born with just one leg recently at the Government Maternity Hospital at Petlaburj in Hyderabad city of India. The condition is said to be quite rare, occurring one in lakh birth. Immediately after birth, the baby was shifted to Niloufer Hospital for better care. However, despite the best efforts of the doctors, the ‘mermaid’ baby died 12 days later.

The mother, identified only as Suvarna from Shadnagar, underwent a C-section at the hospital on March 10. She gave birth to twins, a girl weighing around 2.4 kilograms and the ‘mermaid’ baby weighing around 1.2 kilograms. The gender of the ‘mermaid’ baby could not be made out as the baby’s lower half was merged in a tail-like structure.

“The baby was born to non-consanguineous parents at 8 months of gestation. There was no history of exposure to any known teratogenic agent during the antenatal period. An antenatal scan revealed moderate to severe oligohydramnios and the fetal kidneys were not well visualized,” said Dr. K Ramesh Reddy, Director of Medical Education of Telangana State and former head of Paediatric Surgery Department at Niloufer Hospital.

“The lower limbs were fused from the hip downwards and two feet were seen, (sirenomelia dipus); and external genitalia were absent. A small phallus-like structure was seen in the back with an orifice from which urine was being passed, the anal orifice was absent. 2D Echocardiography revealed a large ventricular septal defect. Ultrasound abdomen and pelvis revealed fused pelvic kidney with altered echogenicity (suggestive of dysplasia), absent urinary bladder and ureters opening into the orifice at the back,” said Dr. Reddy.

“As the transverse colon ended blindly into the abdomen, meconium (faeces in the newborn) accumulated in the baby’s intestines. Since the colon, which processes waste from the body did not develop, we conducted Colostomy, where one end of the colon is brought out through the abdominal wall and vent, is provided for waste. If external intervention had not been taken up, the meconium buildup could lead to a perforation in the colon. The faeces could spread throughout the body causing sepsis,” he added.

“An end colostomy was performed and the child survived post-operatively for 12 days. Death was due to associated anomalies like renal and cardiac,” said Dr. Reddy.

Sirenomelia is a rare congenital anomaly, till date approximately 300 cases have been reported in medical literature. Most of these newborns were stillborn or died immediately after birth; death is usually due to renal agenesis, which is incompatible with life.

“There is a strong association between this syndrome and maternal diabetes; up to 22 % of fetuses with this anomaly are known to have diabetic mothers. However, in this case, the mother was not diabetic. Fifteen percent of patients with sirenomelia have associated twinning, which is most often monozygotic. Sirenomelia is a rare fatal congenital malformation with severe visceral anomalies that decide the survival. Fusion of the lower limbs, which is very obvious, is less fatal,” said Dr. Reddy.  







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