Rebeca Martinez, an infant born with a second head, died on Feb. 7 from complications of surgery. She was eight weeks old.
A medical team of 18 surgeons, nurses and doctors at the CURE International Center for Orthopedic Specialties in Santo Domingo performed the complex surgery on Feb. 6 to remove an undeveloped conjoined twin that was attached to Martinez’s head. Without the operation, the pressure from the second head would have kept her brain from developing. CURE International, a Pennsylvania-based charity that gives medical care to disabled children in developing countries, paid $100,000 for the operation.
Although the surgery was a success, the baby lost a lot of blood during the procedure, which caused her to suffer a series of heart attacks and massive hemorrhaging. After undergoing a second surgery to stop the bleeding, Martinez died early this morning.
Martinez was born Dec. 10 in the Dominican Republic connected to the undeveloped head of her twin, an extremely rare condition known as craniopagus parasiticus. She was only the eighth documented case in the world; all of the other infants with this condition died before birth.