A two-year-old girl born with four arms and four legs was set to undergo extensive surgery Tuesday in southern India to remove the extra limbs, media reports 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 people 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. The members of the family only go by their first names.
Pediatric surgeon Dr. Sharan Patil from Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore heard of the girl and offered to operate for free. A team of 30 doctors will participate in the surgery, aimed at removing the extra limbs and organs with hopes that Lakshmi will have a normal anatomy at the end of the operation.
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.