Baby with Two Faces
Baby with Two Faces - A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian
village, where she is doing well and is being worshiped as the
reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday. Born on March 11th, 2008 the baby named Lali was at first revered as a
reincarnation of the God Ganesh, half person and half elephant.
Diprosopus ("two-faced", "person"), also known as craniofacial duplication (cranio-"skull"), is an extremely rare congenital disorder whereby part or all of the face is duplicated on the head. Although classically considered conjoined twinning (which it resembles), this anomaly is not normally due to the fusion or incomplete separation of two embryos.
It is the result of a protein called sonic hedgehog homolog (SHH). (The unlikely sounding name of this protein was inspired by the Sonic the Hedgehog videogame character and is part of an idiosyncratic naming tradition in molecular biology research that some have criticized as frivolous.)
In 2008, a baby girl born in India, Lali Singh, became the most recently known person to have the condition diprosopus. She was born on March 10th, 2008 to a lower-caste family who live in Sanai Sampūra village near Delhi; the birth was delayed by dystocia caused by her large head, and she was born in a hospital with an episiotomy.
She was one of the very few infants with diprosopus to survive well past birth. She may have been the only known living individual with complete facial duplication.
Her facial features included two pairs of eyes, two noses, and two mouths (but only one pair of ears). Lali Singh, daughter of Sushma and Vinod Singh, lived in the Indian village of Saini Sunpura.
There, she was seen as the reincarnation of the goddess Durga, who has three eyes. It was also thought that Lali was an incarnation of the Hindu god Ganesh. As of April 2008, Sushma and Vinod Singh had declined an offer from local doctors to evaluate their daughter through CT or MRI scanning.
Without diagnostic imaging, it was not possible to know the full extent to which the child's condition might have affected her brain and other vital structures in her head and neck. Thus, any estimation of her ability to survive or even thrive could only be speculative, though Lali's family described her as functioning normally.
It is also unknown whether neurosurgeons or craniofacial surgeons, if consulted, would have had feasible solutions to offer with respect to corrective surgery. A local doctor told reporters that the baby should be considered a healthy child who currently lives a normal life, a previously unknown occurrence among sufferers of the disorder.
Baby with Two Faces
Lali's two middle eyes suffered from corneal opacity due to abnormal anatomy of the facial muscles, which prevented her from properly closing those eyes. (Before, it was wrongly blamed on camera flashes.)
Cleft palate caused difficulty feeding her under village conditions. A poor diet of bottle-fed sugar solution and diluted milk, allowed to drip down her throat because she could not suck properly because of the cleft palate, weakened her condition, and vomiting and infection started.
Admission to hospital was delayed by discussion (including taking her back home from hospital) among her extended family and her village's headman.
Finally her parents, alarmed at her illness and dehydration, defied her other relatives and took her back to hospital, where under proper medical treatment including antibiotic and a saline drip she started to improve, and stopped vomiting, and started drinking milk and defecating normally; but 6 hours later, at two months old to the day, she died of a heart attack.
She was buried in her village, as is usual in Hinduism with children who die very young. Later a temple was built at the village in her memory.