Pakistani doctors are battling the odds to save a newborn baby born with a rare genetic condition that has left him with six legs.
The one-week-old boy is believed to be one of parasitic twins.
His conjoined twin was born prematurely and incompletely developed, which resulted in the second child having the extra legs, said Jamal Raza, director of the National Institute of Child Health in Karachi, toNews.com.
Doctors at the institute are fighting to save the newborn, who remains in an intensive care unit ward.
Raza added that they were planning to operate on the boy and were considering asking for help from foreign experts with more experience in the rare disease, believed to afflict just one in one million babies.
He tried to clarify that the baby did not have six legs – he had two legs and the other four belonged to the other twin.
'Operating on such a baby is not an easy task as proper assessments need to be done first,' he said. 'We need to figure out whether the baby has his twin’s limbs or his own. We also need to consider how much the internal organs have developed as the latter could complicate matters and decrease the baby’s chances of surviving.'
Speaking to the news site, the baby's father, Imran Shaikh, made a plea for help from the government and charities.
‘I can’t afford to visit Karachi and get treatment for my baby,’ said the X-ray technician, who earns the equivalent of $66-a-month. ‘I appeal to philanthropists and the government to come forward for the treatment.’
Shaikh and his wife of four years live in Sukkur, around 280 miles north of where his son is being cared for. His wife is reported to be recovering well from the birth and in a good state of health.
His wife - who is also his cousin - has been unable to travel because she had a caesarean section delivery.
He said they were planning on naming their son Umar Farooq.
In a statement given to the AFP news wire, the provincial health department said: 'The doctors are examining the infant to plan for necessary treatment to save the baby's life and ensure he lives a normal life.'
Muhammad Qaisar, a doctor at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad, told allvoices.com he was certain the boy could be successfully operated on. ‘It is perhaps [the] first child in the history of Pakistan having six legs,’ he said.
‘The case will also be a test for doctors and we hope for the better,” he said.
Since Shaikh made his public plea for help, the Sindh Governor has come forward and directed officials concerned to make sure the child receives all the medical care he needs, Pakistani-based The Nation reported.
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