Due to the medical condition called hydrocephalus, Mrityunjay Das was known for being a baby with the largest head in the world. With the presence of excess fluid accumulation (known as cerebrospinal fluid) within his brain, his head once measured a massive 96 cm in size.
In addition to the complications of Mrityunjay’s terrible medical condition, his parents have also dealt with cruel neighbors who ridiculed him for his appearance. Simply because he looks different than others, they would call him awful names such as “giant head” and “ghost baby.” Fortunately, a successful operation helped give him a better chance to live a normal life.
The Operation That Brought Hope
At just seven months, Mrityunjay’s received a surgery to help reduce the size of his incredibly large head. With an external ventricular drain (EVD), surgeons were able to remove 3.7 liters of fluid from his skull, which caused the circumference of his head to go from 96 cm to 70 cm.
A significant decrease in the size of his head, is just one benefit from the risky operation. Mrityunjay’s cognitive functions have also improved dramatically. Before the operation, he was unable to move. However, today, he can be carried around. The next step for Mrityunjay is a cranioplasty operation to help reshape his skull. His parents believe that as his head continues to reduce to a normal size, their neighbors will eventually stop calling him names.
See images of Mrityunjay’s amazing results on The Express Tribune.
Another Case Nearly As Severe As Mrityunjay’s
Before Mrityunjay was born, it was Roona Begum who was known for having the world’s largest head, which swelled to 94 cm. The Tripura-born girl also suffered from hydrocephalus. Sadly, at the age of five, she passed away due to breathing difficulties. Her death occurred just days before she was about to have a surgery that could have reduced her head to normal size.
Two Other Babies Born With Rare Deformities
Unfortunately, Mrityunjay Das and Roona Begum are just two cases amongst many more babies who were born with a rare and life-threatening medical condition.
This is a YouTube video about a baby girl who born with an extremely rare (affects approximately 1 in 300,000 births) and severe genetic disorder called harlequin ichthyosis (first documented in 1750). The disorder mainly affects the skin, causing thickened skin with diamond-shaped plates that are separated by deep cracks. The thick skin covers the majority of the infant’s body. Children with the condition are prone to severe bacterial infections, and most will die within the first month after birth. However, there are some very rare cases of adults who have survived with harlequin ichthyosis for decades after their birth.
The 28-year-old mother actually refused to hold and breastfeed her baby girl.
Footage of another baby born with harlequin ichthyosis.
Khalida Begum is the mother of a baby boy born in India. With his small head and big bulging eyes, she believes he was “cursed,” as she described him as a “alien-looking boy.” However, the boy’s father believes he may be an incarnation of a Hindu god. Doctors say the baby is another case of harlequins disease. In addition to the deadly skin disease, based on his symptoms, he appears to also have the disorder called anencephaly. The condition occurs during embryonic development, and causes a baby to be born without a major portion of the brain and skull. Most infants with anencephaly do not live longer than a couple of days after their birth.
Despite advancements in surgical technology, it is sad that some medical conditions continue to prevent babies from ever getting a shot at living a normal life. Some will never reach their first birthday. Hopefully, further advancements will help save many more lives, and eventually be able to correct the most serious conditions that today are considered impossible to correct.