The 44-year-old fetus that was discovered in an 84-year-old Brazilian woman is sparking a worldwide debate over whether or not the woman should be forced to have the fetus removed. "We are going to perform some new tests, scans to see more details and then we will speak with her relatives to see if they allow us to operate," said Porto Nacional hospital gynecologist Gesneria Saraiva Kratka according to a Feb. 14, 2014, Counsel & Heal News report.
Doctor Kratka can be seen showing X-rays of the fetus in a video that was published on Feb. 10. The video taken at the hospital in the Tocantins state in central Brazil shows the unborn baby’s face, bones of the arms, of the legs, the ribs, and the spine. The unborn baby is believed to have been 20 to 28 weeks old when it died.
The rare occurrence of a decades-old fetus is called a calcified baby, “stone baby,” or a lithopedion.
As previously reported, a lithopedion, or “stone baby,” occurs when a fetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy. If the unborn baby is not aborted after it stops moving, the mother’s body can protect itself by calcifying it. While most abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, a lithopedion can develop from 14 weeks gestation to full term.
There are about 300 worldwide medical cases of "stone babies" known so far.
The Brazilian woman remembers having been pregnant 40 years ago. When she experienced pain during her pregnancy, she consulted a “witch doctor” in her small village since there were no other medical services. After giving her a potion, the pain went away. Believing that she had aborted the baby, there was no reason for the Brazilian woman to return to a hospital – until now.
According to a Feb. 8, 2014, G1 news report, the 84-year-old woman learned about the 44-year-old fetus when she went to the hospital because of severe stomach pains.
“Elderly was surprised by the news but does not want the fetus removed. The doctor wants to do surgery to remove the fetus. She is a widow and said that if the fetus was during these years in her, she'd rather not take. But the gynecologist warned that it is important to do the surgery because the fetus may bring risks to her health. There may be obstruction of the intestinal loop, cramps, stool retention, adherence, anything can happen." (Google translation from Portuguese).
Because of the risks of continuing to keep the “stone baby,” Porto Nacional hospital gynecologist Gesneria Saraiva Kratka is hoping to convince family members to change the 84-year-old woman’s mind about not having the surgery.
Since the video showing the X-rays of the 44-year-old fetus was published, many supporters have spoken out for the doctor’s decision. However, many more are supporting the 84-year-old Brazilian woman’s decision not to have the calcified five-month-old baby removed.
(The Google translations from Portuguese into English are rough, but one can understand the main arguments.)
In support of surgery:
“Does she want to pretend to be pregnant at 84? Poor thing.”
My God here says nothing about religion, I am tocantinese this and lack of medical care, imagine if today in nativity has no medical imagine 60 years ago! I think doctors should do this surgery soon and ready unless qa patient not at risk for life!
“She should make the withdrawal of the Fetus because only then your health back to normal, must be a nun or a believing church that prohibits these do proper surgery.”
In support of keeping the 44-year-old fetus:
“News from Brazil godforsaken. The poor people live the God-will. Imagine that all these years she has not had the opportunity to do a simple check-up to identify this easily fetus. She's right: at this point in life, any intervention is a big risk.”
“44 years there and the doctor now says it has risk of ‘grip’. Joke ready.”
"Why she would not have surgery to have the baby removed, which is not a living person, most likely more calcium than anything else. Can I just say DUH!!!! This woman is in her 80s and has been okay for 44 years, is from a 3rd World Nation and is okay with her circumstance....... Leave her alone."