HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Mandera surgeons remove 13-year-old foetus from Ethiopian woman

More often than not, foetuses die due to the harsh extra-uterine environment

In Summary

• Hawa Adan had been to many hospitals in Ethiopia. Her condition was diagnosed after she crossed into Kenya and the Mandera medics found she had been carrying a dead foetus for 13 years.

• Lithopedion, is a rare condition that happens when a fertilised egg grows in the fallopian tube instead of being implanted in the uterus.

Surgeons operate on 31 year old Hawa Adan at the Mandera County Referral Hospital on Tuesday, November 17.
Surgeons operate on 31 year old Hawa Adan at the Mandera County Referral Hospital on Tuesday, November 17.
Image: COURTESY

The Mandera County Referral Hospital on Tuesday successfully conducted the first lithopedion operation in East and Central Africa on an Ethiopian woman.

Hawa Adan, 31, had been carrying a dead foetus in her womb for 13 years.

Hawa had been to many hospitals in her country without getting proper diagnosis.

 

However, she crossed into Kenya in September and surgeons at the Mandera referral hospital discovered the cause of her swollen abdomen and scheduled an operation. She failed to keep the appointment for two months.

 

She again showed up at the hospital this month. She was operated on November 17. And the operation was not only successful but historic. 

Mandera Governor Ali Roba recalled her story. “Hawa had previously visited most hospitals in Ethiopia but did not get diagnosed in any of them. In September, she tried her luck at the Mandera County Referral Hospital.” 

Her condition was intensively investigated and a CT scan showed that Hawa had lithopedion, a rare condition.

Lithopedion happens when a fertilised egg grows in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

The fallopian tube can only allow the foetus to grow to a certain limit beyond which it will either rupture and be discharged to the abdominal cavity.

In most cases, the foetus dies due to the harsh extra-uterine environment. Few develop into maturity.

 

According to Roba, only 300 such cases have been reported globally and until September none in East and Central Africa.

The diagnosis is prompt in countries with good health facilities.

In the Hawa case, the foetus developed in the abdominal cavity to approximately past 30 weeks at which point it was lost.

“She carried the dead foetus for 13 years and was only diagnosed when she came to MCRH in September. But she did not show up for the scheduled surgery,” Roba said.

Hawa returned to the facility on Monday and was operated on Tuesday.

“At MCRH, she was operated on and delivered the stone baby successfully. On close scrutiny, it was a male infant, complete with the placenta and a cord weighing 1.75kg,” the governor said.

Hawa is recuperating at the surgical unit.

Mandera Referral Hospital surgeons and gynaecologists operate on Hawa Adan, a 31-year-old Ethiopian woman to remove a foetus that died in her womb 13 years ago.
HISTORIC: Mandera Referral Hospital surgeons and gynaecologists operate on Hawa Adan, a 31-year-old Ethiopian woman to remove a foetus that died in her womb 13 years ago.
Image: COURTESY