Gene disorder suspected

Frank Maponya

A 23-year-old woman has given birth to a four-legged baby girl at the Lebowakgomo Hospital in Limpopo in what doctors say is a first of its kind at the institution.

The extraordinary bundle of joy was born at 6.20am yesterday.

Dr Elizabeth Reji, who is in charge of the neonatal unit at the hospital, told Sowetan that during the initial stages of delivery, the baby looked normal.

But when her legs came out it was discovered that she had two additional legs that were joined together but had two separate feet.

Reji said the baby's other legs emerged from the pubic bone.

"We have since arranged for the baby to be transferred to George Mukhari Hospital in GaRankuwa outside Pretoria for an operation to remove the other legs," said Reji.

She said the baby's mother had not experienced any complications after the birth, which, she said, proved that the birth was normal.

"We even conducted an X-ray on the baby and discovered there were bones in the other unusual legs," Reji said.

The baby's mother, whose name her family has requested should not be disclosed, said she was still in shock at what she saw.

The woman, who is from GaMphahlele in Tooseng, said she did not even know how to inform her other relatives about the baby.

"I'm still in shock and do not know what to do about the matter," she said, "but with time I believe I will be able to recover."

She said she had initially been excited that she would be giving birth to her first child but was now confused and unhappy.

She said her family had no previous history of babies born with abnormalities.

The baby's father works in Germiston, outside Johannesburg. At the time of going to press arrangements were being made for him to go and see his daughter at the hospital.

Reji said she suspected that the baby's deformity was related to both the mother and the baby's genetic make-up.