Sunday, July 03, 2005

That Sound You Hear Is Me Screaming

Rare 'Lobster' Baby Born in Peru
By Robin Emmott, Reuters

LIMA, Peru (July 1) - A Peruvian woman has given birth to a boy dubbed the "lobster baby" because of a rare condition in which his arms and legs are deformed and wrapped like claws around his body, doctors said on Friday.

One-month-old Moises Chavez, who was brought to Lima this week after he was born in Peru's central Andes, is one of only a few babies worldwide born with the defect in all four limbs, said Dr. Luis Rubio, who will lead the baby's long treatment.

The condition, known as arthrogryposis, or curvature of the joints, is found in one limb in about 1 in every 3,000 births in the United States. But experts in birth defects said Moises' situation was much less common.

"It's very rare that all four limbs should be affected," said Richard Leavitt, Director of Science Information at the U.S.-based National March of Dimes Foundation.

Rubio told Reuters that the amniotic bands within the mother's amniotic sack got tangled up around the fifth month of pregnancy, wrapping the baby in a mummy-like position and preventing his arms and legs from growing.

"His brain seems to be fine and his life's not in danger, so our goal is to give him the use of his hands and arms," Rubio said. "I'd love him to walk, but I just don't know," he told Reuters at the hospital run by Lima town hall where Moises will be treated.

Dark-haired Moises, who weighs 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) and is 13 inches (33 cm) long, cries and reacts to sound but his leg bones are bent at a 90-degree angle from his body, while his hands are distorted outward as his tiny elbows hug his chest.

Moises' mother, Marisol Chavez, 21, appealed for aid when he was born in the Andean village of San Jeronimo, 250 miles east of Lima.

"I hope he gets better. My wish is he can play and run with the other children in the street," said Chavez.

Moises' grandfather, Rodolfo Trinidad, 65, said the father has refused to recognize the baby. "He says it's not his, he's horrified," Trinidad said.

Rubio said funding for the treatment, which could last years, would initially come from the Lima town hall, although he may have to look for aid from abroad at a later stage.

"We need to do tests first. I've only had the baby in my care for the past 24 hours," Rubio said.

Rubio is also treating Milagros Cerron, dubbed the "Little Mermaid" because she was born with her legs fused and is one of only a handful of babies born sirenomelia, or mermaid syndrome who has lived more than a few hours.

Lobster baby? Fuck you, Reuters. My child is not a freak show, and neither is this poor kid. His version of AMC is more severe than most, but that doesn't make him a fucking lobster baby. And your information about AMC is wrong anyway.

If you want to let them know what you think of this habit of "dubbing" children with "cute" names, you can go to their Contact Us page and tell the editors what you think.

If this post is showing up twice, I apologize, as the first one was up and then disappeared.


Mouthy Mom said...

Thank you for the link, I will certainly be contacting them.

How insensitive!!

Mouthy Mom

Ani Vinson (Abby's Mommy) said...

I was horrified to read this article! They sure did use a bad choice of words for the title. Thank you for posting it! I will defintely be writing a nasty message to the editors! How dare they say such things! Our children are beautiful human beings no matter what! Heartless people!

Just Me said...

This comment is way late, but you may get it emailed to you.(?) I wrote to the AP last year about this same issue (different child) and the ugly portrayl of congenital defects. I have a large portwine stain and I know that in the scheme of life that's no big deal, but when a whole person is defined by how they look it just hurts. I was pleased this week to notice that a follow-up story on the same child was much more respectful. Who knows why, but I like to think it was me :).