A baby boy who had no arms was born on Tuesday at a private clinic in Ogun State. While a lot of superstitious explanations had been given as likely causes of the deformity, an orthopaedic surgeon with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr. Babajide Saheed, gives a medical explanation.
In a chat with Punch, Dr. Saheed said the baby must have suffered some congenital defects which affected his growth either in the first or second trimester of the mother’s pregnancy.
According to him, the mother’s age at the time she got pregnant and her state of health may affect the baby’s growth and development either positively or negatively.
His words: “The mother may have had some infections which were not well treated. It could be the side effect of some drugs she took in the first six months of pregnancy and that is the delicate period because it is at this stage that the major organs are forming. If she took antibiotics then, it could be the cause of the deformity or any congenital defects in the baby.
“Exposure to radiation in the area or while undergoing treatment could also cause the deformity. It is also common for women, who get pregnant after the age of 35 to have babies with congenital defects or mental challenges.”
The father of the baby had taken to his heels after the birth, asking government or whoever was interested, to take ownership.
The surgeon however said that there was hope for the child, adding that depending on the severity of the condition, the baby might have to undergo surgery in a few months, when the artificial prosthetics would be given to him.
He said: “He may have to undergo a surgery, but it is likely not to be now. If the joint is functional, he would be given prosthetics and if it is not, the joints would be removed surgically and he would also be given prosthetics to assist him.
“The mother should take the baby to a tertiary hospital with orthopaedic specialists and pediatricians, who will evaluate and access the baby and decide the proper treatment.
“They will check his spine and scrotum for any abnormalities. They would also check his heart, abdomen and spine just to rule out any other congenital defects.”