Shocking! India's first 'Harlequin' baby dies after two days of birth

Shocking! India's first 'Harlequin' baby dies after two days of birth

Since she was born through C-section and was already fragile, she was kept on ventilator support not even shown to her own mother till Sunday

The 'Harlequin' baby girl who was born with a rare genetic mutation that caused her to have no perceivable skin, is no more. She died two days after her birth on June 13, and was said to be struggling to survive.

The baby was born on June 11 at 12.30 am, in the Lata Mangeshkar Medical College and Hospital' to the 23-year-old mother and a 27-year-old farmer father.

The couple reportedly hailed from Amravati in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

Condition of the Harlequin baby when she was born

She weighed almost about 1.8 kgs and according to the team of doctors working on her, "she had thick white plates of skin, separated with deep cracks. In addition, the eyes, ears, private parts and the appendages were abnormally contracted."

Since she was born through C-section and was already fragile, she was kept on ventilator support not even shown to her own mother till Sunday. The baby reportedly started developing severe breathing problems from Monday morning.

The doctors explained that since the mother was not a regular patient at the hospital, the disease wasn’t diagnosed earlier. “Even otherwise skin disorders, especially Harlequin Ichthyosis, cannot be picked up on conventional ultrasonography,” pointed out Dr Mitra.

Family is coping with the loss

The family is however, coming to terms with their loss. In fact, when the baby was shown to her 23-year-old mother, she is said to have broken down.

“The father of the baby, a poor farmer from Amravati, and her grandmother were shocked to see her. However, they have accepted the situation,” said Dr Kajal Mitra, the dean of the hospital, while speaking with a leading daily.

What the doctors were doing to save her

While speaking to the media, Dr Yash Banait, who was part of the team had earlier said, "Doctors will be undertaking a 2D Echo investigation to ascertain the cardiac deformities or anomalies if any. The baby requires proper moisturisation and petroleum jelly and coconut oil serves good for this. Nutritional rehabilitation has to be undertaken regularly. But this baby is not finding any difficulty in breathing."

He added, "Doctors will be undertaking a 2D Echo investigation to ascertain the cardiac deformities or anomalies if any. The baby requires proper moisturisation and petroleum jelly and coconut oil serves good for this. Nutritional rehabilitation has to be undertaken regularly. But this baby is not finding any difficulty in breathing."

Reaction to her death

Ever since the news of India's first 'Harlequin' baby came out, people have been shocked and some surprised. But the one common thread between all was their prayers for this young baby. However, nothing could work for her.

Just hours before her death, the baby’s family had called  her "a gift from god."

Sadly, there is no cure to this condition. Such babies need to be fed with tubes for nutritional support and they are extremely vulnerable to high risks of infections, difficulty in breathing, low body temperature, and even dehydration.

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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