Baby Born with Brain Outside Head Not Expected to Survive
A South African baby boy, born on July 4, is not expected to survive. His anomaly? He was born with his brain exposed outside his head.
Baby Sibusiso Mokoena was born with anencephaly, a life-threatening condition where a large part of the brain and the skull is missing after birth.
“It’s a condition not compatible with life,” his doctor Lizzy Tabane explained. “I do not know how long the baby will hold, but the parents are hopeful.”
She explained that the condition occurs during the early stages of pregnancy. As the baby grows, the skull doesn’t fully develop and leaves a hole at the back of his head. She also added that babies born with this condition typically don’t survive for more than a few weeks.
“Unfortunately he won’t last long and there is nothing we can do about it,” the doctor grimly said. “There is no quality of life without a brain. All that we can do is offer him palliative care as there is nothing curative about his case.”
The baby’s mom remains optimistic, feeding the baby consistently through a tube.
“I am so scared of lifting him up in case I hurt him,” she worriedly said. “That part at the back containing his brain is very soft, it’s like touching a plastic with water. So I’m scared I will tear it.”
Anencephaly occurs in 4 out of 10,000 births. It is typically caused by vitamin and folic acid deficiencies while pregnant. So far, the longest surviving baby who suffers from this condition is Nicholas Coke, of Pueblo, Colorado who is still alive after three and a half years.
Baby Mokoena is currently in critical condition at the neo-natal unit of Kroonstad’s Boitumelo hospital in the Free State.