The tendency to count the fingers and toes of a newborn baby has taken on a new meaning for a couple in California.
Last month, doctors and nurses at Saint Lukeâ€™s Hospital in San Francisco thought that they were attending a normal birth. Even after delivering the 6-pound baby boy, they thought all was normal. But they had missed an abnormality that the babyâ€™s father, Kris Hubbard, noticed right awayâ€”his son had one extra digit on each hand and one extra digit on his foot.
Baby Kamani Hubbard has polydactyly, a genetic disorder that bestows extra fingers and toes. But these extra digits are seldom fully functional. In fact, most times they are little more than pieces of soft tissue, growing from the side of the pinky finger or little toe. But in Kamaniâ€™s case, all 12 of his fingers and all 12 of his toes work perfectly.
This stuns even the Hubbard family, with its long history of polydactyly. Kris Hubbard, himself, had had his extra fingers removed as a child, the usual course of treatment for the non-functioning fingers of polydactyly. But it is not his sonâ€™s extra fingers he marvels at, but his sonâ€™s extra toes. â€śSome family members,â€ť he told KTVU, â€śhave had six fingers, not completely developed. But not the toes.â€ť
Not too many people, in fact, have ever seen a case a case of polydactyly like Kamaniâ€™s. KGO-TV reports that, while â€śsome partial development of an extra digit occurs about once in every 2,000 births, fully developed extra digits on both hands and feet are considered extremely rare.â€ť
Because Kamaniâ€™s extra digits are fully functional, the decision to remove them is not a â€śclear-cutâ€ť one. Dr. Michael Treece, Pediatrician at St. Lukeâ€™s Hospital, told KTVU that he thinks that they should leave his extra digits alone, even if it eventually subjects Kamani to taunts from other children. â€śImagine,â€ť he said, â€śwhat sort of a pianist a 12-fingered person would be imagine what sort of a flamenco guitarist, if nothing else, think of their typing skills.â€ť
Kamaniâ€™s parents, however, have not yet reached a decision on the fate of Kamaniâ€™s extra digits. His mother, Miryoki Gross, is still trying to get used to her sonâ€™s unique condition, which didnâ€™t even show up on the ultrasound before his birth. â€śIâ€™m still in shock, kinda,â€ť she told KTVU. For now, Kamani can keep every one of his 24 fingers and toes.