Baby born with legs fused together tragically dies four hours later
KOLKATA: A mother astonished doctors when she gave birth to India’s second ever ‘mermaid baby’ but sadly lost it just four hours later.
The unnamed baby, whose sex was unclear due to its underdeveloped pelvis and fused legs, suffered from a rare condition known as “Sirenomelia” or ‘mermaid syndrome’.
Muskura Bibi, 23, gave birth naturally one morning last week at the government-run Chittaranjan Deva Sadan Hospital in Kolkata, eastern India. Ms Bibi had been unable to afford any scans during her pregnancy and therefore only learnt about the baby’s condition when she first saw it after giving birth.
Dr Sudip Saha, child specialist at the hospital said: ‘The parents are a labour couple and had not sought proper medication during pregnancy due to lack of money.
‘Lack of proper nutrition and improper blood circulation to the baby from mother can create this kind of abnormality’.
Mermaid syndrome is thought to affect one in every 60,000 to 100,000 births.
What Is Mermaid Syndrome?
Sirenomelia, also known as mermaid syndrome, is an extremely rare disorder that causes partial or complete fusion of the legs. Sufferers may also have gastrointestinal complications and the lack of, or underdeveloped, kidneys.
The cause of Sirenomelia remains unknown to this day.
Most sufferers die as new-born babies just a few hours following their birth, due to lung complications and heart defects. There have been no survivors of Sirenomelia to date.
Treatment of Sirenomelia involves surgically separating the legs.
Parents Unable to Afford Treatment
Dr Sudip Saha, child specialist at the hospital said: ‘I had never seen such a baby before. It is the first case of Sirenomelia in the state and second in the country’.
The baby had normal formation in upper part of the body but below the waist its legs were fused together. The lower part was not developed completely. We learnt the mother had not undergone ultrasound sonography throughout gestation.
‘The parents are a labour couple and had not sought proper medication during pregnancy due to lack of money. Lack of proper nutrition and improper blood circulation to the baby from mother can create this kind of abnormality in foetus. Unfortunately such babies do not survive.’
In 2016, a woman from Uttar Pradeash, northern Indian, gave birth to the country’s first known ‘mermaid baby’, which only survived for 10 minutes. It has been discussed by Medical Historian Lindsey Fitzharris that the Mermaid Syndrome occurs when the foetus’s umbilical cord fails to form two distinct arteries.
Sirenomelia is extremely fatal, and there are no accounts of anyone surviving this condition in the past. Most die mere hours or few days within being born as they succumb to the unavoidable failure of their bladder and kidneys.