Muskura Bibi, 23, gave birth on Wednesday morning at the government-run Chittaranjan Deva Sadan Hospital in Kolkata, eastern India. She astonished doctors when she gave birth to India’s second ever ‘mermaid baby’ that sadly passed away just four hours later.
Ms. Bibi had been unable to afford any scans during her pregnancy and only learned about the baby’s condition when she first saw it after giving birth. 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.’
Dr. Sudip Saha, a child specialist at the hospital, said: ‘The parents are a labor 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 a mother can create this kind of abnormality.’
Mermaid syndrome affects one in every 60,000 to 100,000 births.
Because the parents were unable to afford necessary medication, Dr. Sudip Saha, a 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 a 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 learned the mother had not undergone ultrasound sonography throughout gestation.
‘The parents are a laboring 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 a mother can create this kind of abnormality in the fetus. Unfortunately, such babies do not survive.’
Medical historian Lindsey Fitzharris, who has a Ph.D. from Oxford University, said the condition occurs when the umbilical cord fails to form two arteries and as a result, there is an insufficient blood supply reaching the fetus.
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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