Woman, 81, dies after surgery to remove 'stone baby' she carried for over 50 years

Thursday, March 21, 2024
 – An 81-year-old woman died after having surgery to remove a rare "stone baby" she had carried for more than 50 years.

Daniela Almeida Vera died a day after the operation to remove the calcified foetus from her abdomen.

Her family revealed she had been too scared to see a doctor for many years, even though she often complained of severe stomach pains. Instead, she chose alternative medicine to cope with her problems, her daughter, Rosely Almeida, 21, said.

Eventually, she went to the hospital and a 3D tomography scan revealed the hidden “stone baby", dating back to her last pregnancy.

This unusual condition, known as a lithopedion, happens when a foetus dies but can't be absorbed by the mother's body. Instead, it stays in the abdominal cavity, forming a calcium shell around it.

Before this shocking discovery, doctors thought she might have had cancer.

When the stone baby was discovered, Daniela, from an indigenous tribe near Brazil's border with Paraguay, had an operation on March 14.

She was urgently transferred to Ponta Pora Regional Hospital in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, with a generalised infection, but didn't make it and died the next day, March 15, while still in hospital.

She leaves behind seven kids and 40 grandkids.

Her daughter Rosely said: "She was elderly and we are indigenous people. She didn't like going to the doctor and she was afraid of the equipment used to carry out tests."

Rosely also thinks her mum might have had the "stone baby" inside her for more than 56 years because Daniela had pains since her first pregnancy, which felt like a baby moving in her belly.

Her only son, Vanderlei Avalo Almeida, shared: "She didn't want to go to the doctors because she was worried she had a tumour. She would just take medicine so the pain went away."

Now, further checks are underway to learn more about the stone baby.

Rosely shared: "We're are in a state of shock, there's a lot of sadness. She was our mum and the only one who protected people and now she's gone and we feel lost."

A study from 1996 says there have been only 290 cases of babies turning to stone, called lithopedion, written about by doctors. The oldest one they found was from a long time ago, around 1100 BC, in Texas.

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