Amritsar woman gives birth to a plastic baby

  • Published in Off Beat
Amritsar: Ever heard about a "plastic baby" who looks like a rubber doll and sheds skin like that of reptile scales.

A plastic baby born in Amritsar has become the centre of attraction in the region as birth of such babies is rare and occurs once among six lakh newborns. The plastic newborns are scientifically known as collodion babies.

The mother of the baby hails from the Rajasansi area of Amritsar district in Punjab, which is located some 240 km from here. Doctors of Guru Nanak Dev Medical College and Hospital in Amritsar had examined the baby on Friday.

"The baby starts crying when someone touches her. She looks like a rubber doll and her face appears to be similar to that of a fish. Her eyes and lips are red hot. She is also not able to take feed from her mother," a doctor who attended to the plastic baby, said.

Confirming the birth of a plastic baby, Dr M.S. Pannu, Head, Department of Paediatrics, Guru Nanak Dev Medical College and Hospital said that a collodion baby was brought to the hospital for treatment on Friday.

"This is a kind of genetic disorder. It is due to mutation of certain genes and is usually an autosomal recessive, congenital ichthyosis (scaly skin condition).

However 10 per cent of collodion babies have normal underlying skin - a mild presentation known as 'self-healing' collodion baby. The skin of this baby, like others born with this deformity, is very thick," Pannu said.

He said that plastic babies develop cracks in their skin after birth and baby's membrane gets peeled off automatically within a period of 15 to 30 days. In some cases, the plastic coating-like skin makes the life of the child miserable. The baby remains under constant threat of infection when the body sheds skin. This threat remains all life.

Collodion babies, who are often premature, are also known as plastic babies. They are born encased in a skin that resembles a yellow, tight and shiny film or dried collodion (sausage skin). The collodion membrane undergoes desquamation or peeling, which is very painful.

"This is a very rare disease and is found in one among every six lakh babies. This is a kind of wax and shining skin which is also tight. At times the plastic babies report hypothermia and dehydration besides other problems. I treated one such baby a decade ago. The skin at times sheds itself within two to three weeks but the period is very painful for the baby which cannot close its eyelids," Chandigarh-based child specialist and Director, Bedi Hospitals, Dr R.S. Bedi told Mail Today.

This is the second such baby born in Amritsar. Earlier in 2014 too, a plastic baby was born in the civil hospital but it died within three days of birth.


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