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A Woman Carried a Calcified Fetus inside Her for Over 50 Years

Calcified Fetus

Image credit: A calcified fetus (not from Esta Meléndez) removed from a woman after 50 years. Otis Historical Archives of National Museum of Health & Medicine.

It was reported this June that an old Chilean lady aged 91 years old, had been discovered with a calcified fetus in her body when she was hospitalized for treatment of an isolated injury.

This old woman, whose name was Esta Meléndez, lived in La Boca, Chile. After falling over, she went to hospital for treatment, but doctors surprisingly found this stone fetus within her body.

In the video interview with CNN, Meléndez said that the doctor diagnosed she had a tumor, which needed to be removed by operation. But with a second X-ray, the mass was confirmed as a calcified fetus rather than a tumor.

Calcified fetuses take place when a pregnancy occurs not within the womb. Although calcified fetuses are usually discovered within the abdomen of a mother, it was startling that   the calcified fetus of Meléndez was in her uterus. Generally speaking, the fetus could be ended after a miscarriage, or if it was small it could be reabsorbed back into the mother’s body, if it was too big, it had to be taken off by surgical operation.

Being recorded for the first time around the 10th century, such weird occurrence is called a stone baby, or a lithopedion in technical term.

In the past fifty years, Meléndez had been living with this small mass within her body. It is amazing that she does not feel painful with any severe health problems even if having this stone baby.

Actually, the layer of calcification taken shape around the fetus would have protected the mother from its dead tissue so as to   prevent it from turning out to be a source of infection.

Owing to Meléndez’s age, doctors decided that they would not to take away the calcified fetus. As this tiny lump weighing 1.9-kilogram had formed inside her uterus, it was unfortunate that Meléndez would be unable to give birth to living children any longer.

Source: Washington Post