Dhaka: A baby with wrinkles on face, hollow eyes and a shrunken body resembling an 80-year-old’s. If you think this is a scene straight out of ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, you are mistaken.
We are talking about a baby boy who was born in Bangladesh’s Magura district on Sunday afternoon with a rare medical condition called Progeria. People with Progeria age eight times faster than others.
Parul Patro, wife of Biswajit Patro, a poor farmer in Bhulbaria village, has been busy meeting relatives and several curious villagers, all flocking the hospital to see if babies, like her son, really exist.
Parul and family are ecstatic to have a new member join their family of three. Tell Biswajit, the father, that his son resembles him, and he breaks into a big smile. “Our first child, Aparna, has taken after her mother. But my boy looks like me, and I am happy,” he says.
Does it concern him that the baby is suffering from a rare condition, and perhaps will always be judged by his looks?
“I am not unhappy, nor do I feel any sorrow that my son is different,” Biswajit says without betraying any emotion.
Most Progeria patients die very young. The family, however, hopes that the baby will grow into a healthy boy. “The baby looks old because his father also looks more than his age. I just hope that the baby will lead a long and healthy life,” says Arabindu Mondal, the baby’s maternal uncle.
The doctors at the hospital say that, for the time, both the mother and the newborn are doing well.
In February this year, a 4-year-old boy Bayezid of Khalia village was diagnosed with Progeria. Incidentally, Bayezid’s village is not very far from the newborn’s. In the first week of August, doctors at the local hospital in Madura suggested that Bayezid be sent to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital for further treatment.