40 years inside a woman - level 3

40 years inside a woman - level 3

17-12-2013 14:00

An X-ray image shows a fetus inside a woman, in normal circumstances developing into a baby waiting to be born. But this fetus has not and has been inside an elderly woman for 40 years.

It was only discovered when the 82 year-old was admitted to a hospital in Colombia with abdominal pain. It was thought she was suffering from a case of the more common gastroenteritis, but doctors at this hospital in Bogota found that in fact it was a rare case of lithopedion or stone baby, where the fetus does not develop in the uterus having moved elsewhere. The patient has since been transferred to another hospital to undergo surgery.

One in every 11 thousand pregnancies develop into lithopedion. Many women remain unaware of what’s happened as the mother’s body is shielded from the dead tissue which has been calcified on the outside.

Difficult words: fetus (baby before it is born), circumstances (situation), abdominal (of the belly), gastroenteritis (infection of the digestive system), uterus (organ where babies develop).

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