Doctors claim baby does not have six legs, but is a conjoined twin

Published: April 17, 2012
Sheikh brought his son to Karachi on Monday for a check-up at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH).

Sheikh brought his son to Karachi on Monday for a check-up at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH).


On Friday, Imran Sheikh and his wife became the proud parents of a baby boy with six legs.

As the news of this baby and his legs spread like wildfire, a large crowd lined outside the hospital in Sukkur to catch a glimpse.

As the frenzy increased, the anxious parents decided to take their son home.

With a little help from the family and the Baitul Mal, Sheikh brought his son to Karachi on Monday for a check-up at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). After an initial physical assessment, the doctors felt that the baby was a conjoined twin with a case of parasitic conjunction, also known as unequal conjoined twins when a twin embryo begins developing in utero but the pair does not fully separate and one embryo maintains dominant development at the expense of the other. Unlike conjoined twins, one ceases development during gestation and is vestigial to a mostly fully formed, otherwise healthy individual twin.

According to NICH Director Dr Jamal Raza, the baby was stable when he arrived in Karachi and was being kept in the Surgical-Intensive Care Unit as newborns were at a high risk of developing infections.

While talking to the media, Dr Raza clarified 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.” He added that a team of five surgeons was assigned to the case and was carrying out initial assessments which included MRIs, ultrasounds and blood tests.

The tests and assessments are expected to take two days, however if they come across any complications, the doctors will have to do specialised tests which may take longer. Dr Raza explained that if they found internal organ tissues of the second twin in the baby it would make surgery much more difficult as it was not possible to separate internal organs. He added that there was no need to rush into surgery as the baby was breathing and his condition was steady.

“Conjoined twins are not genetic, they are rare cases. There is one in every 100,000 patients and the survival rate is low,” he said. “There are variations too – the twins joined at the head are craniopagus where a parasitic head is attached to the head of a fully developed baby, twins who are joined near the occipital region are occipitalis and the twins joined in the parietal region are called parietalis.”

While talking to The Express Tribune, Sheikh said that he was accompanied by his aunt and cousin as his wife was unable to travel because of the caesarean delivery. He said that he was married to his cousin and they were blessed with their first child after four years of marriage.

He added that he hoped his son, whom he planned to name Umar Farooq, would make it through the surgery.

The Baitul Mal has been instrumental in giving Sheikh and his family both emotional and financial support. When his child was born, he did not have money or resources to come to Karachi for a medical check-up. The Baitul Mal arranged for Sheikh and the baby’s transport and living arrangements. According to Dr Adnan Majeed, the director of Baitul Mal Sindh, they had given Sheikh Rs50,000 for his personal expenses in Karachi and will give a cheque for Rs0.6 million to NICH.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (15)

  • Subah
    Apr 17, 2012 - 3:44AM

    May Allah grant little Umer a long, healthy and prosperous life. May he prove to be a huge “bundle of joy” for his parents. Sincere prayers are with them all.


  • Sky
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:24AM

    Well if they were identical (monozygotic) twins, then they would never be able to find out which limbs belong to which and what internal organ belongs to whom.

    Another doctors opinion.


  • MAD
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:54AM

    @Sky: I think a simple xray would help determine which pair belongs to the baby. even in the blurred picture you can see two legs at the place where they should be. I hope there are no shared organs cause merely removing leftover parts of the twin is not too complicated a surgury


  • THE
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:35PM

    I just hope the doctors don’t make this an experiment. There shouldn’t be a single doctor or a small group making the decisions in this case, I think this case should be handled by the top doctors in the country.


  • The whore
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:56PM

    Look how perfect the world is. Because god made it so. A perfect world with imperfect babies. Verily there are signs for those who can see.


  • Kamran Azim
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Docs still combined twins must have 4 legs not 6. What is the story? Please correct.


  • bilal
    Apr 17, 2012 - 5:52PM

    may ALLAH grant this boy a gr8 life …. and prosperity to his parents… bringing happiness to their life… my prayers are with them … !! but doctors should be careful … there should be a group of special doctors on this… not only one .. !!


  • Atheist, India
    Apr 17, 2012 - 6:50PM

    May science come up with genetic treatments for fetus soon so that these disorders are nipped in bud.


  • xzy
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:34PM

    This is a case of ischiopagus conjoined twins.
    A similar case was recorded in India with successful surgery.


  • lime
    Apr 18, 2012 - 3:02PM

    @xzy: Now that raises our hopes..


  • kremlin
    Apr 19, 2012 - 4:09PM

    miracles do happen, may Allah give a healthy normal life to the baby.


  • best
    Apr 27, 2012 - 3:38AM

    GOD, will surely help you baby boy,From today i proclaim great destiny upon your life in Jesus name amen.Recommend

  • Sharjeel
    Apr 28, 2012 - 7:01PM

    Assalaamu Alaikum Samia, please can you write an update article on this story. I am keen to know how this little boy is doing. May Allah shower his blessing on him and his family and give them eternal happiness. Thanks.


  • samia
    Apr 30, 2012 - 1:09AM

    for sure.. my dear reader!


  • Sharjeel
    May 1, 2012 - 1:33AM

    Thanks, my dear writer but soon OK :-)


More in Pakistan