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A doctor from India found a dead fetus inside of a four-year-old boy who complained of stomach pains. The child suffers from a rare condition known as “fetus in fetu” (FIF). This illness is very rare affecting less than one in every five million live births. The boy complained repeatedly about stomach pains causing doctors to believe he might have a tumor. An ultrasound and CT scan shocked the medical staff as it revealed a developed fetus in the child’s abdomen.
The embryo which is believed to be the child’s twin had a partially formed head, legs, hands and nails. It was removed from the child’s body after a lengthy operation. According Dr. Shirshendu Giri, he is doing well, but still under close observation. The twin fetus entered the boy’s stomach during the early stages of the mother’s pregnancy. The fetus enters the twin through the umbilical cord, and is typically found in the abdomen of the baby who survives. The condition is often life-threatening, frequently ending in death for both babies.
FIF is a rare hereditary abnormality in which a parasitic and malformed fetus is found inside the body of its twin. It was first defined in the early 19th century and has since been reported around 200 times with much discussion surrounding its prognosis and treatment in the light of the relevant literature. Although it occurs predominantly among infants and toddlers, there have been reports where it was present with no symptoms until later ages. In 80 percent of the reported cases, the fetus is found in the abdomen, but there have been few accounts of it occurring in the child’s skull.
In 2009, adoptive parents were shocked after their daughter, Kang Mengru, was found to have FIF. Within months after birth, the little girl’s stomach began to enlarge itself so much that people were calling the child a monster. Medical scans revealed she was actually carrying the parasitic fetus of her unborn twin in her belly.
Another case occurred in 2012, in this instance the child had lived eleven years before being diagnosed. The school aged girl had a third arm sprouting out of her back which later revealed to be a part of an identical twin which failed to develop. The twin, whose fetus consisted of a breast and an arm which included a shoulder-blade and two fingers, had been enclosed in the body of its sister since birth.
Oddly enough, additional cases have been reported with even more unique circumstances. In 2006, a two-month-old girl had to have two fetuses removed from inside her body after both of the baby’s siblings had become parasites enveloped in her body. Another extreme case occurred in 1999 including an adult male who had carried his parasitic twin inside his body for 36 years.
This rare condition recently showed up in a four-year-old boy from India. He is from the Kharikabandh village in the Midnapore district of West Bengal. Last week he complained of severe stomach pains which prompted his parents to seek medical attention. Initially, doctors feared the child might have a tumor, but after enduring a long and tedious surgical procedure, a developed fetus was found inside his abdomen. The young boy is reportedly doing well, but still under observation as he continues to recover.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
IBT: India: Dead fetus found in 4-year-old boy after he complained of stomach ache
Daily Mail: Horror as young boy with stomach pains and suspected tumor is found to have a dead fetus inside him
NBCI: Fetus in fetu: A report of two cases
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Inside Image Courtesy of Thomas van Ardenne – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet – Flickr License