A two-year-old Indian girl who was born with four arms and four legs has started to take her first assisted steps, more than three months after marathon separation surgery, family members said.
Two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma has delighted everyone with her recovery in a small Indian village in the western state of Rajasthan, where her family moved after the November 7 operation. "When she was put in the baby walker, she started pushing herself backwards with her legs and burst into laughter with a huge grin on her face. She loves it," Lakshmi's mother Poonam said.
"Every day since she left the hospital, she's managed to do more and more things that were impossible earlier," Poonam said. The child can now sit up without difficulty.
Lakshmi, named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, was born fused to the pelvis of a twin that had stopped developing in her mother's womb - a condition that occurs once in 50 000 conjoined twin births.
Surgery performed free of charge
Her parents Poonam and Shambhu, labourers from a remote area of poverty-stricken Bihar state, took her to southern Bangalore city after a New Delhi hospital refused to operate, saying the surgery would be too complex and costly.
The operation in Bangalore, which cost 2.4 million rupees (about R450 000), was performed free at a private hospital and was the first of its kind to be performed in India.
Lakshmi left the hospital in December, and has since been living with her family in Rajasthan's Jodhpur district, where a charity has offered them lodging and free education.
Another two operations planned
Doctors at the Sucheta Kriplani Shiksha Niketan charity – which provides boarding and education to 500 children with disabilities - say she will need another two operations.
"Lakshmi is still facing some major urinary problems and her legs are bent to some extent," Dr B.S Bhati said, adding that the surgery was likely to be carried out in the next two months.
The child's parents told AFP at the weekend that staff at the
charity home were taking good care of their daughter and pampering her. "We are very happy that our brave baby survived such a complex surgery. It feels like beginning a completely new life," Shambhu said. – (Sapa)
- February 2008
8-limb girl faces epic op