Maha: Baby with rare genetic condition ‘Mermaid syndrome’ dies within 15 minutes of birth

Mermaid syndrome is a very rare genetic condition. In medical terms, it is called as Sirenomelia. In this genetic deformity, the legs of an infant are fused together. Experts say, this condition can be seen in one in eighty thousand children

  • A baby with a very rare genetic deformity – Sirenomelia, also known as mermaid syndrome, was born in Beed district, Maharashtra.
  • However, the baby could survive for just over 15 minutes. It had breathing problems and had some birth defects in the lungs as well.
  • The family has donated the infant’s body to Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College in Ambajogai in Beed. 
  • The doctors will preserve the infant’s body for the educational  purpose of medical students.

What seemed to be a very usual delivery for the doctors of Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College (SRTRMC), turned out to be one of the rarest in their careers. The doctors were aware that the baby had a birth deformity. But, when they saw the baby, they could not believe their eyes. The baby was born with Sirenomelia, a very rare birth deformity.

What is Sirenomelia? 

It is a condition found in approximately one out of every 80,000 live births

This condition is fatal because of the complications associated with it

In this condition, the legs of an infant are joined and form a formation which looks like a mermaid’s tail, so this is also called as mermaid syndrome

It’s an extremely rare congenital developmental disorder, characterized by anomalies of the lower spine and the lower limbs

It’s an extremely rare congenital developmental disorder, characterized by anomalies of the lower spine and the lower limbs

On Monday, a 25-year-old Deepali Jadhav (name changed) visited SRTRMC for her delivery. Doctors were aware that the baby will have some birth deformities. But, when the baby was born, they were also in a shock.

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Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Sanjay Bansode, Head of the Gynecology Department of SRTRMC, said, “While performing the delivery, we thought that a head or feet would come out. But, to our surprise, the baby was born with mermaid syndrome. The baby survived for just over 15 minutes. We were aware that the baby will have some of the other birth defects.”

Dr Bansode further said, “This genetic condition is very rare. Only 300 cases have been reported in the world. The baby had breathing problems and was born without the gentiles. Babies with mermaid syndrome could not live more than 24 or 48 hours.”

He said, “We are in process of preserving the infant’s body. The baby’s parents, who are daily labors, have donated the body for research purpose for medical students.”

Dr Sameer Dalwai, a pediatrician, while speaking to My Medical Mantra, said, “This is a very rare condition. In India, due to diseases like TB and malaria, people are not aware of these diseases. But, nowadays, families are small. So, we are more aware of other genetic diseases as well.”

Dr Sakira Sawaskar, Head of Paediatric Department, BA Medical College, Solapur, said, “Mermaid syndrome is a very rare genetical condition. This condition is reported in one in eighty thousand babies across the globe. In this condition, the baby’s growth is affected. The babies with mermaid syndrome have a defect in the lower back and its feet.”