Gilang Andika is a 2-month-old baby boy from Batam, Indonesia, born with two faces and two brains but only one body and one skull, Newsflare reports. This is an extraordinarily rare and extreme case of conjoined twins, which occurs when there is a complication in the egg's division during early pregnancy and the embryos do not separate as normal.
According to the report, Andika's mother, Ernilasari Andika, was unaware there was anything unusual about her pregnancy before the birth. And despite three ultrasounds, the doctors at Chamata Sahidiya Panbil Hospital did not detect any abnormality.
If this was not heartbreaking enough, as a result of his condition, Andika is also suffering from a sometimes fatal build-up of fluid in the brain called hydrocephalus, which can cause excess pressure on the brain. This, in turn, can induce learning disabilities and epilepsy, as well as problems with vision, memory, speech, physical coordination, and attention.
His parents now hope he can undergo surgery to fix the condition, but money is not the only problem they are currently facing.
To cure Andika, medics may have to perform an extremely high-risk operation to remove one brain and face, as well as part of his skull. According to the latest report, doctors have said they are unable to go through with the surgery and that Andika is unlikely to live long because of his condition.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare, and twins joined at the head (aka craniopagus) are even rarer, with it occurring in only one in 2.5 million births. This particular type of craniopagus is called craniofacial duplication or diprosopus (which means two faces in Greek) and describes a condition where all or some part of the face is duplicated on the head.
Another recent high-profile case of diprosopus was that of Hope and Faith Howie in Sydney, Australia, in 2014. The twins survived for 19 days, but even within that short timeframe, their parents noticed that the girls displayed distinct personalities – Hope enjoyed a nap and Faith tended to cry a little more, The Sunday Morning Herald reported at the time.
According to Gizmodo, only 35 cases of diprosopus have been reported in the entirety of human history before 2014.