A Colombian woman on Monday entered the hospital with stomach pain but what doctors found inside her abdomen was astounding! The 82-year-old woman was having a 40-year-old fetus inside her body! And what was more shocking was that she was carrying the unborn fetus for decades without realizing it.
The elderly Colombian woman in Bogotá, Colombia had long complained of abdominal ailments, and she was initially diagnosed with gastroenteritis. But the woman got stunned when a doctor at the Tunjuelito Hospital in Bogota told her that her pelvic pain was caused by a 40-year-old fetus.
The dead, calcified fetus is being reported by the media as a very rare instance of a “stone baby”, known as ‘lithopedion’ under the medical definition. This rare medical phenomenon was discovered after the doctor conducted further examination of the woman and ordered an X-ray.
The rare “stone baby” may result from a complex ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy where a fetus is conceived somewhere outside the womb, usually within one of the two fallopian tubes.
There are fewer than 300 documented cases of stone baby in medical literature, says Dr Kim Garcsi, who directs the OB/GYN clerkship program at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Dr Garcsi did not treat the Columbian woman. According to him, lithopedion can remain in the abdomen undetected for decades.
“Most of the time people find these and [sometimes] even after they’re found and don’t do anything about it because they’re totally asymptomatic,” said Dr Garcsi.
According to an NTD TV report, Dr Kemer Ramirez of Bogota’s Tunjuelito Hospital said that the doctor treating the woman noticed something ‘abnormal in her abdomen.’ The medics suspected gallstones and ordered for an ultrasound, Dr Ramirez said. But the ultrasound report showed nothing. The doctors discovered the existence of the “stone baby” only when radiography of the unnamed woman’s abdomen revealed a tumor in her abdominal cavity.
Dr Ramirez explained: “This happens because the fetus does not develop in the uterus because it has moved to another place.
“In this case, the abdominal part of the woman is not a viable (place) and this is what happened, a calcified fetus because the body is generating defence mechanisms and it is calcified until it stays there encapsulated.”
The Colombian woman is reportedly transferred to another hospital where she is expected to undergo surgery to remove the calcified four-pound fetus that is mostly comprised of dead tissue.