‘Mermaid baby’ dies four hours after birth in India

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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 on Wednesday morning 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.  

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 suffered from the condition sirenomelia

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 suffered from the condition sirenomelia

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 suffered from the condition sirenomelia

Doctors were unable to identify the baby's sex due to its underdeveloped pelvis and fused legs. Its mother Muskura Bibi, 23, had no scans and was unaware of the problem until the birth

Doctors were unable to identify the baby's sex due to its underdeveloped pelvis and fused legs. Its mother Muskura Bibi, 23, had no scans and was unaware of the problem until the birth

Doctors were unable to identify the baby’s sex due to its underdeveloped pelvis and fused legs. Its mother Muskura Bibi, 23, had no scans and was unaware of the problem until the birth

WHAT IS MERMAID SYNDROME? 

Sirenomelia, also known as mermaid syndrome, is an extremely rare disorder that causes partial or complete fusion of the legs. 

It affects one in between 60,000 and 100,000 births. 

Sufferers may also have gastrointestinal complications and the lack of, or underdeveloped, kidneys.

Its cause is unknown. 

Most sufferers die as newborns due to lung complications and heart defects.

Treatment involves surgically separating the legs.

Source: National Organization for Rare Disorders 

Unable to afford necessary medication 

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.

No survivors to date 

Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris, who has a PhD from Oxford University, previously told MailOnline the condition occurs when the umbilical cord fails to form two arteries.

As a result there is an insufficient blood supply reaching the foetus. 

She Fitzharris added: ‘Sirenomelia is extremely fatal.

‘There are no accounts of anyone with this condition surviving in the past.

‘Most died within days of being born due to kidney and bladder failure.’ 

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