A baby boy born with four legs and four arms is “progressing well” following surgery, doctors have said.
For the first two-and-a-half months of his life, Paul Mukisa was attached to a “parasitic twin” – an underdeveloped variant of a conjoined twin that did not have a heart or brain but had limbs.
Paul’s mother, Margaret Awino, had given birth at home on 27 May in a small eastern Ugandan village called Nabigingo.
The family rushed to the nearby Bugiri Hospital but were referred onto the Mulago Hospital in Kampala, which has previously handled congenital anomalies.
In a case that stunned doctors there, a team of surgeons, led by Dr John Sekabira, found further abnormalities with the boy’s internal organs including the liver and heart being situated on the wrong sides.
Paul underwent surgery on 18 August - which was the first of its kind at the hospital – with three surgeons, three anaesthesiologists and two nurses successfully removing parts of the parasitic twin in a three-hour operation.
Ms Awino has been described by a doctor as being extremely appreciative: “The father and mother were very grateful because at first they thought it was due to witchcraft, and their baby was a laughing stock because of the abnormalities,” one of the surgeons, Dr Nasser Kakembo, said, reports CNN.
Mother-of-five Ms Awino told Ugandan newspaper the Daily Monitor: “I still can’t believe that my child is normal. I didn’t know what to do with him but I am very happy he was operated for free.”
Mr Kakembo added: “The baby was given general anaesthesia and the torso and trunk of the parasitic twin, which had two arms but no head or heart, was detached from the host baby.
“Then we also detached the lower limbs of the parasitic twin from the host, which included disarticulating the right and left lower limbs as they were attached by joints.
“We controlled the bleeding and fashioned skin flaps to close the resulting wound. There were no intra-operative or post-operative complications and mild blood loss and a precautionary blood transfusion was given.”
The child is now doing well and is said to be breastfeeding well, too.
Paul’s case has echoes of a similar one in 2007, in which a two-year-old girl in India was born with eight limbs.
Lakshmi Tatma also reportedly had a “parasitic twin” and was reported to have made a good recovery following 27-hour surgery to remove the extraneous body parts.