Surgery On Multi-Limbed Girl A Success

Dr. Sharan Patil, right, talks to Lakshmi, left, at the Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore, India, Monday, Nov. 5, 2007. Doctors began operating Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, on Lakshmi, a two-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs, in an extensive surgery that they hope will leave the girl with a normal anatomy, a hospital official said.
AP Photo
An extensive operation on a 2-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs went "wonderfully well" doctors said Wednesday as they announced that she is safe and stable after more than 24 hours of surgery.

A team of 30 doctors successfully removed the child's extra limbs, salvaged her organs, and rebuilt her pelvis area, Dr. Sharan Patil said Wednesday from a Bangalore hospital.

"Beyond our expectations, the reconstruction worked wonderfully well," Patil said.

The girl, named Lakshmi, had been revered by some in her village as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess.

Lakshmi was born joined to a "parasitic twin" that stopped developing in the mother's womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.

The doctors worked through the night to remove the extra limbs and organs, surgery that doctors say will give her a good chance to live past adolescence. The procedure included separating the fused spines along with removing the extra limbs and the rest of the "parasite," said Patil, the orthopedic surgeon leading the operation.

Children born with deformities in deeply traditional rural parts of India, like the remote village in the northern state of Bihar that Lakshmi hails from, are often viewed as reincarnated gods. The young girl is no different - she is named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth.

"Everybody considers her a goddess at our village," said her father, Shambhu, who goes by one name. "All this expenditure has happened to make her normal. So far, everything is fine."