Over the weekend, on Sunday, surgeons at a hospital in West Bengal operated on a 4-year-old boy and removed a fetus from inside his stomach.
When pulled from the child's abdomen, the fetus was dead. Still, the doctors who were involved in the intervention describe it as having a partially formed head, hands, legs and even nails at the end of its fingers and toes.
In a way, the boy was born pregnant
The surgeons who handled this case believe the lifeless fetus they recovered from the 4-year-old's stomach was the boy's twin. They suspect that, while they were still in the womb next to each other, the boy likely engulfed his sibling.
Enveloped in its brother's developing body, the fetus stopped growing. However, it didn't go away. So, in a way, the 4-year-old boy, whose identity hasn't yet been disclosed, was born pregnant with his twin.
For the first few years of his life, the boy was healthy, and so nobody realized that he was carrying his sibling in his stomach. It was only when he started experiencing intense pains and was taken to the hospital that the dead fetus was found.
The surgery to remove the lifeless twin from the boy's abdomen lasted several hours. Medical experts say that, for now, the boy is doing well. Specialists will keep a close eye on him for a few more days, but he should recover just fine, Mirror reports.
Such cases are rare, but not unheard of
Although it's not everyday that doctors find fetuses in people, the fact of the matter is such cases aren't entirely unheard of either. Thus, specialists say they happen once in 500,000 births. To the medical community, the condition is known as “foetus in foetu.”
Earlier this year, in February, a team of doctors produced a report detailing a similar case. The paper, published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, concerns a baby girl born pregnant with her own twins, one weighing some 14.2 grams (0.5 ounces) and the other 9.3 grams (0.3 ounces).