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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Baby in India born with 4 arms, 4 legs

BANGALORE, India (AP) - Doctors began operating Tuesday on a 2-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs in an extensive surgery that they hope will leave the girl with a normal body, a hospital official said.

The girl named Lakshmi is 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.

A team of 30 doctors was removing the extra limbs and organs. They have separated the fused spines and the next step will be to separate the extra limbs and then the rest of the "parasite," said Dr. Sharan Patil, the orthopedic surgeon leading the operation.

"As of now, the child has been responding very well," Patil said several hours into the operation.

Lakshmi is named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, and some in her village in the northern state of Bihar revere her.

"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."

Others sought to make money from Lakshmi. Her parents kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, they said.

The complications for Lakshmi's surgery are myriad: The two spines are merged, she has four kidneys, entangled nerves, two stomach cavities and two chest cavities. She cannot stand up or walk.

"It's a big team effort of a lot of skilled surgeons who will be putting their heart and soul into solving the problem of Lakshmi," Patil said earlier in the day. "It's going to take many, many hours on a continuous basis to operate on the baby. So, these issues definitely make it complex."

Patil put the risk of losing Lakshmi between 20 and 25 percent.

Doctors at Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore, where the girl is undergoing surgery, said she is popular among the staff and patients.

"She's a very cute girl," Dr. Patil Mamatha said. "She's very playful and gets along well with others."

The hospital's foundation is paying for the operation because the girl's family could not afford the medical bills, Mamatha said.

13abc.com

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