Despite the advances of modern medicine, the human body occasionally presents rare and mysteries discoveries. While we might imagine ourselves to be individual organisms, it turns out our disgusting bodies are home to thousands of mites, fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms that feed upon our tissues and various bodily effluvia. While you might be ready to self-immolate at the thought of tiny arachnids crawling around your eyelashes eating your dead skin, many of the stowaways on our bodies share beneficial, symbiotic relationships with their unwitting human hosts. Like eating your dead eyelash skin, for example.
Sure, those tiny bodily passengers might gross you out, but there are stranger and more revolting guests that sometimes turn up in human bodies. Take the example of a Japanese teen last year who was found to have a tumor containing the makings of a tiny, half-formed human head. Luckily, that tumor was removed successfully by surgeons. Hopefully, a similar case out of Indonesia will soon have a similarly happy ending. According to the Jakarta Post, a baby with an abdominal swelling recently underwent CT scans and X-rays to identify the cause of massive abdominal swelling. Doctors were expecting to find a tumor or internal bleeding, but instead found a rare case of fetus in fetu: an internal parasitic twin.
The scans revealed that there was an entire second baby nestled inside the abdominal cavity of the 10-month old Muhammad Abdalul Zikri Hakim, or Zikri for short. Lalu Hamzi Fikri, the director of the hospital where the baby is being treated, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that this condition is extremely rare and potentially life-threatening:
The tissues are dead tissues but the blood vessels remain alive. It’s dependent on the main source or parent, which in this case is the baby. This case is very rare that’s why we need to be extra careful in handling this, I hope things work out smoothly.
Don’t we all. Baby Zikri is slated to undergo surgery to remove the parasitic twin at West Nusa Tenggara General Hospital in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. A team of nine surgeons will assist in the operation. It is believed that such parasitic twins occur once every 500 million births, but less than one hundred cases of fetus in fetu have been documented to date.