Abandoned Chinese "mermaid" baby dies

A Chinese baby who was born with "mermaid syndrome" with his legs fused together and abandoned has died, a hospital official said Monday.

The unnamed baby was abandoned at the gate of a hospital in Changsha, capital of central Hunan province, on Nov. 12 with a note saying he had been born three days earlier.

Zhu Lifeng, a nurse from the intensive care unit of Hunan Children's Hospital, said the "mermaid baby" died of heart failure on Sunday after surviving for almost 40 days.

He was born with a rare congenital defect known as sirenomelia, or "mermaid syndrome," which left his legs connected from his heels to his groin.

It occurs in one out of every 70,000 births and is almost always fatal within days of birth due to serious problems in vital organs and complications connected with kidney and bladder development.

Zhu, who was part of the medical team looking after the boy, said he died of multiple organ failure, reports AP.

There are only two known cases of children who have survived the affliction. In Peru, 2-year-old Milagros Cerron had a second operation in September to finish separating her legs, and Tiffany Yorks, a 17-year-old American had her legs successfully separated when she was a baby.

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