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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Goddess' Born With 8 Limbs To Receive Corrective Surgery

BANGALORE, India -- 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 her with a normal body, 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.

"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 her. 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, the girl has four kidneys, entangled nerves, two stomach cavities and two chest cavities. She cannot stand up or walk.

Doctors are working to remove the extra limbs and organs so she'll have a normal body at the end of the operation, said Dr. Patil Mamatha of Sparsh Hospital.

"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 Laxmi," said Dr. Sharan Patil, the lead surgeon in the operation.

Patil put the risk of losing Lakshmi at 20 to 25 percent.