A two headed baby was born to a woman in India, but doctors are not sure if the conjoined twins will survive very long.
28-year-old Urmila Sharma is the mother of the two headed baby girl. This came as quite a shock to her since she was too poor to afford an ultrasound so she didn’t know she was carrying conjoined twins. Each of the two heads are completely separate with two necks and two spines. Although the body is shared, with one set of vital organs, so separating the twins with surgery is not an option.
But just keeping the two headed baby alive has been a “real tough challenge” according to Dr. Ashish Sehgal. Although the twins are both “presently alive and healthy” it’s considered doubtful they will survive in the long term.
Dr. Shikha Malik, who delivered the two headed baby, says the child has not been named and the mother is devastated:
“The parents are very distressed, and we are helping the family the best we can.”
The two-headed baby is being monitored in the intensive care unit at Cygnus J.K. Hindu Hospital in Sonipat, Haryana. Doctors are currently waiting until the baby is completely stable before attempting a surgery to save the lives of the twins. Whether or not one of the two heads may die in the process has not been stated.
Even if they do survive, life will be very hard, although it is possible to live a fairly “normal” life. Each head controls her portion of their body, operating one of the arms and one of the legs. This means the initial learning of physical processes such as clapping, crawling, and ambulating required the cooperation of both children. While each is able to eat simultaneously, activities such as running and swimming must be coordinated and alternate symmetrically. Other activities as diverse as brushing hair and driving a car require that each twin perform a sequence of separate actions that coordinate with the other.
[Image via Sanjeev Ghangas/Cover Asia Press]