The 2-Headed Baby
Posted by shadmia on August 4, 2009
It is extremely rare but a baby girl born at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippines Tuesday night (7/28/09) has two heads. Her name is Baby Girl Arciaga.
The infant has two spines, two brains and two hearts, encased in one cavity. She shares one liver, one stomach and a pair of kidneys.
Dr. Ruben Flores, Fabella hospital’s director, said the baby’s case is called dicephaly monozygotic conjoined twins, which, he said, is a very rare occurrence. It only happens in about 1 of every 80,000 live births. There are other types of conjoined twins but life expectancy is very low and depends upon the degree to which their organs are shared. Conjoined twins are also known as Siamese twins.
Conjoined twins results when the egg cell in a mother’s womb encounter developmental problems. Twins result from the division into two of a single egg cell (identical twins), or the simultaneous fertilization of two egg cells (fraternal twins). Problems arise however when the egg cell fails to fully divide into two, which results to conjoined twins. Studies show that there is no direct cause for having conjoined twins.
Baby Girl Arciaga was born by caesarean section and has been transferred to the Philippine Heart Center for better monitoring of the hearts while her mother remained at the Fabella hospital for full recovery from the operation.
Salvador Arciaga, tricycle (taxi) driver and resident of Mutinlupa City, said his wife, Chaterian, gave birth to “Baby Girl Arciaga” around 8:45 p.m. He said he last saw their baby around midnight at the hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit.
For the Arciaga family, it would not have been a complete surprise to have twins. Both sides of the family have twin members. However ultrasound images before the birth showed only one baby, so the couple did not expect twins, much less conjoined twins. They also have five other children. Salvador earns a meager income as a cycle-taxi driver. He appealed to the public for financial assistance.
“Please help our baby. Please support us and help us extend their lives,” he said.
The Arciagas could only hope that their twins end up like Abigail and Brittany Hensel of Minnesota, who for 19 years have been living with one body. They can walk, run, ride a bicycle, and even drive. See them here.
Salvador and his wife remain hopeful that their daughters will survive.
“I hope she lives. Because if she does, we will do everything that we can to raise her well,” said Salvador.