A rare medical case of the woman with 4 legs

Anita Durairaj

Myrtle CorbinPicture by Charles Eisenmann; Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain Image

It was a very rare medical case but Josephine Myrtle Corbin was born in 1868 as a dipygus.

The dipygus is the rarest case of conjoined twinning where the parasitic twin is completely enclosed in the body of the healthy twin. The result is a severe congenital deformity where the legs and pelvis become duplicated.

Thus, Myrtle was born with four legs and became known in childhood as the "Four-Legged Girl from Texas." You could clearly see her four legs dangling from the hem of her dress.

Some doctors even described her as belonging to a "class of monsters by fusion".

The occurrence of a dipygus is extremely rare and reports state that there have only been 14 cases reported worldwide in the literature.

As a child, Myrtle became the star attraction of a sideshow circuit. Her parents claimed that they wanted to have her on exhibit so that they could pay for her education and give her a good life.

Fortunately, Myrtle did not let her deformity stand in the way. She was an intelligent woman who got married and had five children. As an adult, she continued to appear in exhibits because she needed the money.

Today, the condition of being dipygus can be treated surgically. It can also now be diagnosed before birth.

In one uniquely rare case of dipygus, a fetus was diagnosed with six lower extremities or limbs.

As for Myrtle, she died in Texas in 1928 of a bacterial infection that was unrelated to her congenital deformity.


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