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Bhagat, they discovered, had one of the world's most bizarre medical conditions -- fetus in fetu. It is an extremely rare abnormality that occurs when a fetus gets trapped inside its twin. The trapped fetus can survive as a parasite even past birth by forming an umbilical cordlike structure that leaches its twin's blood supply until it grows so large that it starts to harm the host, at which point doctors usually intervene.
Sanju Bhagat's stomach was once so swollen he looked nine months pregnant and could barely breathe.
Living in the city of Nagpur, India, Bhagat said he'd felt self-conscious his whole life about his big belly. But one night in June 1999, his problem erupted into something much larger than cosmetic worry.
An ambulance rushed the 36-year-old farmer to the hospital. Doctors thought he might have a giant tumor, so they decided to operate and remove the source of the bulge in his belly.
Dr. Ajay Mehta of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai said that he can usually spot a tumor just after he begins an operation. But while operating on Bhagat, Mehta saw something he had never encountered. As he cut deeper into Bhagat's stomach, gallons of fluid spilled out -- and then something extraordinary happened.
"To my surprise and horror, I could shake hands with somebody inside," he said. "It was a bit shocking for me."
Accordingly, while a fetus in fetu can share select morphological features with a normal fetus, it has no prospect of any life outside of the host twin. Moreover, it poses clear threats to the life of the host twin on whom its own life depends.
I enjoyed my pregnancy so much, I wish I could have been pregnant for 36 years!