An Ethiopian woman on Tuesday delivered a 13-year-old stone baby at the Mandera County Referral Hospital (MCRH).
Hawa Adan had an abdominal swelling for 13-years commonly known as lithopedion, an ancient Greek term for a stone baby.
The rare condition occurs when a pregnancy occurs outside the.
Such pregnancy hardens on the outside as part of a foreign body reaction, shielding the mother’s body from the dead tissue of the foetus thus preventing infection and stays there.
According to a statement by Mandera governor Ali Roba, Adan had previously visited most hospitals in Ethiopia but failed to get the correct diagnosis.
In September this year, she visited the MCRH and after comprehensive investigations including a CT scan, she was diagnosed with lithopedion, a rare condition across the globe.
There are only 300 reported cases of lithopedion in the entire world. There have been no reported cases in East and Central Africa.
“Hawa was operated on and delivered a stone baby successfully. After closer scrutiny, it was a male infant, complete with placenta and cord weighing 1.75kg. She is now recovering at the surgical unit of the hospital,” governor Roba, said in a statement.
Dr Abdiaziz Mohamed, who was among a team of nine surgeons and gynaecologists that carried out the procedure said the operation took about one and a half hours.
“The first time I Adan was in September when we did tests on her and recommended surgery to remove the stone baby. She disappeared only to come back on Sunday. I had to talk to her and prepare her psychologically for the surgery and immediately put her on my elective list,” said Mohamed.
Hawa carried two babies to full term previously but lost them both one month after delivery.
“She said she felt all the symptoms of pregnancy but after three months they disappeared,” said Mohammed.
During the 13 years, Mohamed said Adan lived a normal healthy life, with no symptoms, no pain, and no obstruction in her bowel, only that she felt the swelling and its heaviness.
Dr Mohamed said the stone baby was not located in the uterus, but in the abdomen just below the intestines.
“The surgery was successful, when we dissected the lithopedion, we found a dead baby, fully formed with organs, hair and we could easily tell it was a male,” he said. Lithopedion occurs in a situation where a fertilised ovum grows into the tubes instead of implanting in the uterus cavity.