A 40-year-old foetus has been found inside the body of an elderly woman experiencing abdominal pains.
The 82-year-old was admitted to hospital in Bogota, Colombia, where doctors initially believed she was suffering from gastroenteritis.
But X-rays revealed she actually had a rare case of lithopaedion or ‘stone baby’.
The phenomenon occurs when the foetus does not develop in the uterus, having moved elsewhere.
One in 11,000 pregnancies develop into a lithopaedion, with many women remaining unaware of it because their bodies are shielded from the dead tissue, which has been calcified on the outside.
Dr Natalie Burger, an endocrinologist and fertility specialist in Texas explains that lithopaedions began as ectopic pregnancies – a condition where the fertilised egg becomes stuck on it’s way to the womb and develops outside of the uterus.
She told NBC News: “Usually an ectopic pregnancy will mean a [fallopian] tubal pregnancy, but in a small percentage of cases, the pregnancy can actually occur in the abdominal cavity — in places like the bowel, the ovary, or even on the aorta.
“These are very rare locations and they can be very dangerous.”
According to the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the earliest known case of lithopaedion was discovered in 1582, during the autopsy of a 68-year-old woman.
The Colombian patient has since been transferred to another hospital to undergo surgery to remove the foetus.