Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Medical curiosities have always fascinated mankind. So I'm not surprised that many newspapers have picked up on the story of Jie-jie – a baby boy born in China with two left arms and one right arm.
While I can see many advantages to having a third arm – tuning the radio whilst driving, for example – in Jie-jie’s case, neither of his left arms seem fully functional. Since he cries when they are touched, they also seem to be causing him some degree of pain.
The problem facing the Shanghai doctors who plan to operate on him is in deciding which arm to remove. Although rare, doctors have previously reported children born with extra arms, legs, fingers and toes. Usually they remove the limb which is the least developed or has no connection to the brain. But in Jie-jie’s case this is difficult to determine.
On June 6th the surgery was performed successfully on the arm closest to his chest.