A 92-year-old Chilean woman shocked doctors when she was taken to the hospital for a routine x-ray for her hip after taking a harsh fall. Images revealed a 4.4-pound fetus in her abdominal cavity.
According to a report from BBC news, officials at the hospital estimate the fetus had been in the woman for at least 50 years. Hospital director Marco Vargas Lazo described the fetus as “calcified” and “large and developed.”
Apparently the fetus was around seven month to along when it died. Normally the expired fetus would be expelled from the body, however in rare instances the fetus will become calcified outside of the womb as a result of an abdominal pregnancy.
The condition is known as lithopedion, and it is an extremely rare occurrence according to Lazo.
Despite the fact that the fetus “occupied all of her abdominal cavity,” the woman was sent home by doctors.
The patient was apparently unaware of the fetus prior to the x-ray discovery, and had not experienced any pain or discomfort associated with its presence. Because of this, her doctors have said they likely will not attempt to remove the fetus—the risks of operation outweigh any potential benefits for the patient at her current age.
Apparently there have only been a few hundred cases recorded in medical history, and lithopedion can go undiagnosed and untreated for decades before the patient even realizes they have it.
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