On Tuesday 14 December, Paediatrician Michael Narvey from the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Canada, shared a video on TikTok speaking about the rare case of a woman growing a baby in her liver instead of her womb. “I thought I had seen it all [until] a 33-year-old woman comes in with a 14-day history of menstrual bleeding and 49 days since her last menstrual period,” he first stated.
“What they find in the liver is this: a baby. She had an ectopic pregnancy in her liver. We see these sometimes in the abdomen but never in the liver. This is a first for me,” Doctor Narvey continued in the video. Doctor Karan Raj, another medic on the app, responded to the initial video with his own take on the medical case.
Doctor Raj explained that it was “one of the scariest CT scans I’ve ever seen—a 27-year-old woman with a healthy 2-week foetus in the right lobe of the liver.” He continued by saying that so-called hepatic ectopic pregnancies are so rare that “there are only a handful of cases documented in the literature,” adding that the “liver is a highly vascular structure so any compressive force placed on it could result in massive internal bleeding.”
I already know what some of you are thinking—that this is yet another story by some TikTok-famous doctors to garner views and likes on the platform. However, although very rare, ectopic pregnancies can actually happen. According to the NHS, an ectopic pregnancy is “when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.”
“The fallopian tubes are the tubes connecting the ovaries to the womb. If an egg gets stuck in them, it won’t develop into a baby and your health may be at risk if the pregnancy continues,” its website continues. Speaking to The Independent, the Mayo Clinic—a nonprofit American academic medical centre focused on integrated health care, education, and research—confirmed that “such pregnancies can’t proceed normally” and that “the fertilised egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue may cause life-threatening bleeding, if left untreated.”
While in the case of the unnamed woman, her foetus ended up growing in her liver, the medical centre added that an ectopic pregnancy can also take place in “the ovary, abdominal cavity, or the lower part of the uterus.”
According to the NHS, early signs that this kind of pregnancy may be occurring include a missed period and other signs of pregnancy, stomach pain low down on one side, vaginal bleeding or a brown watery discharge, pain in the tip of your shoulder and discomfort when peeing or defecating. “In the UK, around 1 in every 90 pregnancies is ectopic. This is around 11,000 pregnancies a year,” it states.
That being said, in a subsequent video, Doctor Narvey noted that one viewer indicated that a baby survived a hepatic pregnancy in Africa back in 2003. In an article titled Miracle baby ‘grew in liver’ the BBC reported that the baby “was born after specialists performed a difficult operation to deliver her.” Liver specialist Professor Jack Krige, who helped deliver the baby, told a South African newspaper, “She is the real thing. She is truly a miracle baby.” Both the baby and her mother, Ncise Cwayita, 20, were reported to be well after the delivery.
In Cwayita’s case, doctors only discovered the baby was growing in the liver when they performed a scan a week before she was due. Her womb was found to be empty, but doctors found a small “window” where the amniotic sac connected with the outside of the liver—this is where they were able to go in to deliver the baby.
They had to leave the placenta and amniotic sac in the liver, because the mother’s life would have been at risk. At the time, it was expected they would be absorbed back into her body.
While this previous case might seem encouraging in regards to the more recent occurrence, Doctor Narvey made clear in his second video that Cwayita’s baby was “not actually in the liver, [it] was attached to the liver.”
Spencer Elden, now 30, who was featured on the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album, Nevermind, is now suing the former band members, the estate of Kurt Cobain and several others over the famous naked photograph. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday 24 August, Elden alleges that the band violated federal child pornography laws and claims that his parents never signed a release allowing Nirvana to use the photo, as initially reported by CBS Los Angeles.
In a complaint filed in the Los Angeles federal court, Elden alleges his “identity and legal name are forever tied to the commercial sexual exploitation he experienced as a minor, which has been distributed and sold worldwide from the time he was a baby to the present day.”
According to the suit, the defendants “knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so. […] Despite this knowledge, defendants failed to take reasonable steps to protect Spencer and prevent his widespread sexual exploitation and image trafficking.”
The album cover photo depicts Elden, 4 months old at the time, swimming naked in a pool as a dollar bill dangles in front of him on a fishing hook. The lawsuit says the photo, allegedly chosen by Nirvana’s late frontman, Kurt Cobain, suggests a “sex worker grabbing for a dollar bill.”
In the recent lawsuit, Elden’s parents alleged they never actually authorised the band’s use of the photo, which was taken at a Pasadena aquatic centre in 1990, and that Elden never received any compensation for it. “To ensure the album cover would trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer, [photographer Kirk] Weddle activated Spencer’s ‘gag reflex’ before throwing him underwater in poses highlighting and emphasizing Spencer’s exposed genitals,” the suit continues.
Elden’s suit goes on to allege that the defendants “used child pornography depicting [him] as an essential element of a record promotion scheme commonly utilized in the music industry to get attention, wherein album covers posed children in a sexually provocative manner to gain notoriety, drive sales, and garner media attention, and critical reviews.”
As a result, the complaint claims, Elden “has suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages.” The suit seeks either $150,000 from each of the 17 defendants, which includes the former members of Nirvana, various record companies, art directors and others, or unspecified damages to be determined at trial.
Elden has recreated the iconic photo several times, once in 2008, when he was 17, and then again in 2016 to mark the album’s 25th anniversary. He wore shorts for both of those shoots. He told the New York Post that he was paid $200 for the 2016 photo, the same amount of money his father in 2008 told NPR he was offered for the original photoshoot that led to the album cover. Some could argue that Elden’s father admitting to being paid in exchange for the iconic photo could count as enough of an agreement.
Nevermind has sold over 30 million copies since its release. That’s a whole lot of people seeing your peepee, but maybe Elden should consider suing his parents instead of Nirvana—although he probably won’t be receiving the same amount of compensation… Smells like something’s fishy.