Doctors began operating on a two-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs yesterday in an extensive surgery that they hope will leave the girl with a normal anatomy, a hospital official said.
The girl is joined to a "parasitic twin" who stopped developing in the mother's womb, while the surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus. The rare condition is called isciopagus.
The girl, Lakshmi, is named after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth, and some in her poor village in the northern state of Bihar revere her as a goddess.
Others sought to make money from her. Her parents, Shambhu and Poonam, kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.
Spars Hospital doctors said she is popular among the medical staff and other patients.
"She's a very cute girl," said Dr Patil Mamatha of Sparsh Hospital. "She's very playful and gets along well with others."
Doctors are working to remove the extra limbs and organs, Mamatha said.
Mamatha said: "We have high hopes of everything going fine and everything is going fine now."
The complications for Lakshmi's surgery are myriad: The two spines are merged, the girl has four kidneys, entangled nerves, two stomach cavities and two chest cavities. She cannot stand up or walk.