A woman in Brazil has just given birth to a baby with two heads. The baby has two heads but all his organs are functioning healthily. Sadly the mother didn't find out about the abnormality until minutes before the baby was born. Apparently the woman, named Maria de Nazare, thought she was having twins... Only when doctors did tests before it was born, did they realize that the baby had two brains, two spines but only one heart, lungs, liver and pelvis and so they had to perform a caesarean. The operation took an hour.
The mother is only 25 and lives in a rural area of Brazil's Para state and had had no ultra-sound scans during her pregnancy so she had no prior knowledge of their condition.
The two-headed boy is, in reality, conjoined twins who share a single body. The condition is known as dicephalic parapagus which is an extremely unusual form of conjoinment.The saddest part of the whole thing is because these two heads share the same body, it is not possible to separate them as two functioning human beings but obviously they are two individuals with separate brains, souls and personalities. This raises a lot of sensitive issues. Should they decide over which head to remove? Is that fair? Or do you bring the children up as they are? But then there's the question of the children's health and development and opportunities in life if they're sharing the same body.
Although it's a rare phenomenon, there have been other instances of it in the past. Take, for example, Abigail and Brittany Hensel in the U.S. who have become media celebrities due to their condition and function happily as two people in the same body but their life expectancy is under question.
Apparently the mother, who already has three other children, has taken it well, and has been feeding both boys and wants to take her baby straight home however they've been taken to a specialist hospital in the state capital, Belem, to carry out further tests to determine the best course of action. They are expected to be allowed home later this week.
In a touching tribute to the religious element of Christmas, she has decided to call the two boys Emanoel and Jesus. If there's a God, I hope he's watching over them.
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