Pakistani doctors are battling to save the life of a newborn baby boy born with six legs due to a rare genetic condition, local papers reported.
According to the reports, the baby, now a week old, was born to a struggling x-ray technician and his wife in Sukkur and has drawn the attention of medical experts across the country due to his unique condition. But medical experts say the boy is one of parasitic twins.
Dr. Jamal Raza, director of the National Institute of Child Health in Karachi, clarified that the baby did not have six legs. Raza said the baby was a conjoined twin with a case of parasitic conjunction, also known as unequal conjoined twins when a twin embryo begins developing in utero but the pair does not fully separate, ColumnPK reported.
Unlike conjoined twins, one ceases development during gestation and is vestigial to a mostly fully formed, otherwise healthy individual twin.
Raza says the unique baby is in stable condition and is being kept at the surgical ICU while doctors considered the best plan of action.
“Operating on such a baby is not an easy task as proper assessments need to be done first,” he said. “We need to figure out whether the baby has his twin’s limbs or his own. We also need to consider how much the internal organs have developed as the latter could complicate matters and decrease the baby’s chances of surviving.”
A team of five surgeons have been assigned the case and are carrying out initial assessments, including MRIs, ultrasounds and blood tests.
The tests are expected to take two days, barring any complications. Raza explained that if internal organ tissues of the second twin are found in the baby, it would make surgery more difficult.
The baby’s father, Imran Sheikh, is in Karachi with his child, accompanied by his aunt and cousin. It is his first child with his wife.
Despite the challenges, Sheikh says his son is a blessing he and his wife had waited for in their four years of marriage. He says he hopes his son, whom he plans to name Umar Farooq, survives the turbulent journey ahead.