BANGALORE, India – A 2-year-old Indian girl born with four arms and four legs regained consciousness Friday, wiggled her toes and smiled at her parents, 48 hours after massive surgery removed the extra limbs, doctors said.
Lakshmi, who has been revered by some in her village as a reincarnation of the four-armed Hindu goddess she was named for, was still in intensive care. But she was "doing well" as doctors slowly stopped sedating her, said Dr. Mamatha Patil, Sparsh Hospital spokeswoman.
"She had smiled at us and moved her limbs," Patil said. Besides her toes, the girl also moved her arms, Patil said.
Doctors took the girl off a respirator later Friday but were still monitoring her closely during the critical 72-hour period following the operation. She was allowed to spend some time with her parents and seemed a bit confused by her ordeal, chief surgeon Sharan Patil said.
"Lakshmi appeared very perplexed and kept staring at her legs, wondering where the rest of her body had disappeared," he said.
Lakshmi was born joined at the pelvis to a "parasitic twin" that stopped developing in her mother's womb. The surviving fetus absorbed the limbs, kidneys and other body parts of the undeveloped fetus.
On Wednesday, a team of more than 30 surgeons concluded the 24-hour operation, removing the extra limbs, transplanting a kidney from the twin and reconstructing Lakshmi's pelvic area.
Doctors said the complicated surgery was a great success, meaning she would not need further major reconstructive surgery. However, Lakshmi will need further treatments and possible surgery for clubbed feet before she will be able to walk.
Children born with deformities in deeply traditional rural parts of India such as the remote village in the northern state of Bihar that Lakshmi hails from are often viewed as reincarnated gods. But some had sought to make money from Lakshmi. Her parents kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, they said.
Her father, Shambhu, who only goes by one name, had told reporters that her family had been worried for her future before the operation and he was looking forward to seeing her with "a normal body."