Iraqi boy with eight limbs to return home after successful surgery at Jaypee Hospital in Noida
New Delhi,April15: An Iraqi boy born with eight limbs, two of them protruding out of his stomach, is set to return home after successful surgery in India to remove the extra arms and legs. Doctors said this was because of a rare condition, polymelia, which occurs during embryonic development.
“The embryo starts developing in the uterus into conjoined twins but one twin degenerates completely because of some genetic change, leaving behind extra limbs. In this case, apart from the limbs, the child also had another small intestine and three testes that had to be removed surgically,” explained Dr Abhishek, consultant pediatric surgeon at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, where the surgery was conducted. Polymelia is an extremely rare condition affecting one in a million infants and it is even rarer for them to undergo successful surgeries, given the complexities, he said.
“Karam, the baby, was just two weeks old and very critical when he was brought to our hospital by his father Sarmad Ahmed, himself a doctor. Our team of experts observed the baby ,and after considering the risk factors, it was decided to conduct surgeries in multiple stages,” said Dr Gourav Rathore, senior consultant, orthopaedics and joint replacement at the hospital.
The first stage of surgery, explained Rathore, involved removing the two limbs protruding out of the stomach and the extra small intestine. “It took us nearly six hours to operate on the child. He tolerated it well and had within days started taking the feed,” he recalled. After the surgery, which was conducted in August, Karam returned to Iraq with his family, coming back in December for a second round.
Last week, doctors conducted a third round of surgery to remove the extra legs. “Like any other normal kid, Karam also has two legs now but his left leg was very lean as it had not developed completely. Dr Ashish Rai from anaesthetic and reconstruction department transplanted muscles from the removed limbs to the underdeveloped legs. This surgery took us around seven to eight hours,” said Dr Rathore.
But the challenges don’t end here. Though Karam is out of danger and looks normal now, he has another anomaly of the heart – Corrected Transposition of Great Arteries (CGTA) – for which he will be undergoing another major surgery six months later. “In CGTA, the heart’s formation is completely opposite to the natural biological formation. Correcting this anomaly is a challenging task but I am confident Karam will brave through it too,” the doctors hoped.
The expenses involved in the child’s treatment amounts to several lakhs. Ahmed, his father, said he has been working in double shifts to be able to pull through. “I have been working as an emergency medicine specialist in one shift at a private hospital and as a marketing professional in another shift to meet ends,” the 32-year-old told TOI. Gufran, Karam’s mother, is a medical analyst but had to quit her job to care for the child. “I want him to become an engineer. He has been through a lot of suffering and I don’t want him to experience the same when he grows up,” said Ahmed.