A 92-year-old woman from Chile went to the hospital after falling and doctors determined she had inside of her abdomen a 50-year-old unborn child who had died internally. Interestingly, this is not the first reported incident of an unborn baby who died and went undetected for decades. Each of the three cases have occurred in South American nations.
A 50-year-old fetus was found inside a woman in Chile after going to the hospital in the city of San Antonio after she fell. An x-ray test revealed the presence of an object inside the woman’s abdomen that weighed around 4.4 pounds, according to AOL.
The woman, who is at least 92, had no idea she was carrying a calcified fetus for some 50 years. The phenomenon, known as a lithopedion, occurs when a fetus dies during pregnancy and then becomes calcified outside the uterus.
Previous recorded cases have also involved women being unaware of the presence of the fetus until decades later. Marco Vargas Lazo, the director of the hospital called the case “extraordinarily rare.”
The 50-year-old fetus was “large and developed and occupied all of her abdominal cavity,” he said. The patient has now been sent home and doctors say it is unlikely they will attempt to remove the unborn baby, given the risks an operation would carry for a patient of her age.
The patient was apparently unaware of the fetus prior to the x-ray discovery, and had not experienced any pain or discomfort associated with its presence. Because of this, her doctors have said they likely will not attempt to remove it — the risks of operation outweigh any potential benefits for the patient at her current age.
Apparently there have only been a few hundred cases recorded in medical history, and lithopedion can go undiagnosed and untreated for decades before the patient even realizes they have it.
The woman learned the news last Friday when intense stomach pains prompted her to visit a local hospital in Tocantins state in central Brazil. Once there, x-rays revealed what is sometimes called a “stone baby.” The condition is also known as lithopedion, in which the fetus grows and then dies outside of the uterus and the body is unable to remove the body of the dead baby, which becomes covered in calicum as a means of protecting the mother.
The woman says she became pregnant more than 40 years ago but suffered pain during the pregnancy, and visited a healer for help.
After taking what he had given her, “Her stomach didn’t grow any more, the baby stopped moving, and she thought it had been aborted,” says a gynecologist at the hospital where she was transferred.
The gynecologist says X-rays revealed “the face, the bones of the arms, of the legs, the ribs, and the spine,” of the fetus, which is believed to have died at between 20 and 28 weeks.
LifeNews highlighted a similar case of a woman who doctors determined had inside of her a 40-year-old unborn child who had died internally.