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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Girl born with 4 Arms & 4 Legs

When Shambhu's daughter was born in a rural Indian family, villagers in the remote settlement of Rampur Kodar Katti in the northern state of Bihar believed she was sacred. Her parents, Shambhu and Poonam Tatma, named the girl Lakshmi after the Hindu goddess of wealth who has four arms. Believe it or not, Lakshmi Tatma the little girl did born with 4 arms and legs!


As the news of her birth spread, locals and neighboring town people waited in line just to get a blessing from the baby. However, her parents were forced to keep her in hiding after they were approached by men trying to buy their daughter to put her in a circus. Children born with deformities in deeply traditional rural parts of India, like where Lakshmi is borned, are often viewed as reincarnated gods. This young girl is no different as she is named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth.



In scientific terms Lakshmi case is called "parasitic twin", the twins that stopped developing in her mother's womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus. The two spines are merged, she has four kidneys, entangled nerves, two stomach cavities, an extra torso and limbs but no head. She cannot stand up or walk. It was joined to Lakshmi at the pelvis



The cost of the surgery is not cheap, with the total cost of $625,000, it's far too great for the Lakshmi's family to afford as the couple only earns just $1 a day as casual laborers. Fortunately, after Dr. Sharan Patil visited the girl in her village from Narayana Health City hospital in Bangalore, the hospital's foundation agreed to fund the operation. 



On November 2007, More than 30 surgeons took 27 hours to not only remove two of Lakshmi's arms and two of her legs but also to rebuild much of her body and save her organs. They say the chances of death were as high as 25 percent. The operation went well and Lakshmi has made steady progress. Later, she was taken off a respirator and her parents were allowed to visit.


Many villagers, however, remain opposed to surgery and are planning to erect a temple to Lakshmi, who they still revere as sacred. Dr. Patil said Lakshmi's parents are "very practical" and knew the risks of the medical treatment. Asked about the belief she is a reincarnation of the goddess, he said, "She's a very charming young girl, and I'm sure she'll grow up and be something special." 

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