Doctors in Chile have discovered a calcified fetus in the womb of a 92-year-old woman. The woman had been hospitalized for a routine X-ray after a fall.
At the hospital, Estela Melendez revealed said that she had been diagnosed with a stomach tumor nearly 50 years ago. But an X-ray revealed that she was carrying a fetus that had calcified over the years and weighed 4.4 pounds.
The woman reportedly suffered from a rare condition called lithopedion, in which the fetus dies and becomes calcified outside the womb. In Greek, lithopedion means “stone baby.”
The director of the hospital, Margo Vargas Lazo, said the fetus was developed and large. Newser reports that it probably died during the seventh month of pregnancy.
Hospital authorities said the woman was unaware of her condition. The BBC reports that considering the woman's age, the hospital did not opt to remove the fetus and discharged her instead.
A fetus can calcify in ectopic pregnancies where it develops outside the womb. Instead of letting the dead fetus rot inside the abdomen and expose the woman to infections, the mother's body calcifies it instead. The calcified fetus can remain inside the body without causing complications.