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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/13/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Incident is case of 'stone babies,' a rare occurrence where baby fails to come to term

Life is full of surprises. An 82-year-old woman in Colombia had long complained of stomach ailments, and doctors had initially diagnosed her condition as gastroenteritis. A further examination of the woman at the Tunjuelito Hospital in Bogota found something even more amazing: the woman carried an unborn 40-year-old fetus within her. It was a rare case of a "stone baby," a very rare medical condition with only 300 documented cases ever recorded.  

When an abdominal fetus dies in rare instances, the mother's body calcifies it in order to protect the rest of the body from infection.

When an abdominal fetus dies in rare instances, the mother's body calcifies it in order to protect the rest of the body from infection.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/13/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Stone baby, fetus, calicification, lithopedion


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - Known under the medical definition known as "lithopedion," the dead, calcified fetus resulted from an ectopic pregnancy where the fetus is conceived outside the uterus in the abdomen.

"When you get old cartilage in the knee, it calcifies," Dr. Kim Garcsi, who directs the OB/GYN clerkship program at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said . The calcification of the tissue protects the mother from infection, but also means the "stone" baby 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 Garcsi.

When an abdominal fetus dies in rare instances, the mother's body calcifies it in order to protect the rest of the body from infection. The chances of abdominal pregnancy are estimated at one in every 11,000, and lithopedic pregnancies account for less than two percent of these.

The Colombian woman will no wave surgery to have the mass removed. The earliest reported case of a "stone baby" on record happened in France in 1582. Doctors at that time discovered during an autopsy of a 68-year-old woman that she had carried a fetus for an estimated 28 years.

Women carrying a lithopedion often remain unaware unless a complication emerges. The  Colombian physicians announced the most recent finding on December 9.



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