Tot Born With 8 Limbs Stands

Lakshmi, 2, gestures to her father Shambu, partly seen, before she was discharged from the Sparsha Hospital in Bangalore, India, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007.
AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
In India, the miracle of the little girl who had eight limbs continues.

Lakshmi Tatma, the girl villagers saw as born in the image of a Hindu goddess, can now stand, reports CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar, and her doctors say they're confident she will walk unaided.

All of that just three months after the marathon surgery that successfully removed her extra limbs.

Now two-years-old, Lakshmi gained worldwide attention in November when a team of 30 doctors, donating their services, separated her from a parasitic twin joined at her pelvis. The operation, the first of its kind in India, took 27 hours. Her spine was cut, a kidney moved, and her pelvic bones rotated to come closer together.

Her parents had been told that, without the operation, Lakshmi wouldn't have lived to adulthood.

In the family's remote home village, Lakshmi was seen as an incarnation of the Hindu goddess of wealth.

Her parents repeatedly sought help for her.

"I didn't carry her all those months and go through labor to kill her," her mother cried.

Most doctors believed separation was impossible, and most conjoined twins do not survive.

But, after scanning Lakshmi, Dr. Sharan Patil told the family he believed he could help and, in spite of the risks, her parents agreed. He led the surgical team.

Afterwards, Patil said, "It's been the most moving experience of my life. And I truly believe, if we can achieve the well-being of Lakshmi and make her grow like a normal girl, with the prayers of everybody and the blessings from above, it will be the greatest satisfaction of my life."

Lakshmi now lives with her family at a residential school for disabled children, where she can get follow-up medical care.

Her ordeal isn't over yet: Next month, she will need surgery on her feet and spinal cord.

Lakshmi is named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth and fortune.

Her grateful father believes she is a god.

Heard through a translator, he said, "For as long as she is alive, until my dying day, I will believe she is a goddess."

Goddess or not, MacVicar observes, she is a real-life miracle, and doctors believe that one day, she will be able to walk normally. One lucky little girl now has a real chance at a normal life.