After one operation and 40 days the Indian girl once revered as
a goddess is on her feet and about to leave hospital.
Two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, a conjoined twin born with four arms
and four legs, stood for the first time six days ago following a
groundbreaking 27-hour operation in November.
Her delighted parents Poonam and Shambu told how they watched in
disbelief as their daughter climbed to her feet months sooner than
Her delighted parents Poonam and Shambu (pictured) told how they
watched in disbelief as their daughter climbed to her feet
"We were warned it could be several months before she had enough
strength in her legs to stand," said mum Poonam.
"But she has shocked everyone, including the doctors.
"A few days after the operation she was signalling with two
fingers to show she understood her other limbs were gone.
"As soon as the doctors allowed Lakshmi out of intensive care
she was sitting and moving her legs. She would point to the scars
on her stomach and make walking signs with her fingers.
Lakshmi is named after the eight-limbed Hindu goddess of
"Then last week she grabbed hold of the window ledge and pulled
herself up to get her favourite toy. I had tears in my eyes, it was
a dream I thought would never happen."
Lakshmi, named after the eight-limbed Hindu goddess of wealth,
is due to leave Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore on Saturday after a
She will be cared for by SKSN, a charity for disabled children
in Jodhpur, where her parents have been offered work.
Despite the success of her operation, during which surgeons
transplanted a kidney from Lakshmi's headless twin into her own
body, moved her bowels and intestines into a more central position,
amputated her parasitic twin and "closed" her pelvis, the toddler
needs further surgery next year.
Lakshmi with mother Poonam
Dr Sharan Patil, who led the operation, said: "Lakshmi has club
feet that need to be corrected.
"We also need to remove part of the spine of her parasitic twin,
which was left on during the initial surgery because we felt it was
too dangerous to remove it at the time.
"She has confounded all expectations with her rapid recovery and
with final surgery next year she should be able to lead a
completely normal life."
Lakshmi: Before the operation
Born to impoverished parents in the crime-ridden state of Bihar,
Lakshmi has been promised an education in Jodhpur that would never
have been possible in her home village.
"With the opportunities she now has my daughter can make
something of her life," said her proud father Shambu.
"All I ever wanted was an operation so that she could lead a
"I never dreamed she would get the chance to be educated. I
think she can do anything now, hopefully she can go to university
and become a doctor.
"I'd like to see her pay back what has been offered to her, so
she can one day help others.
"My final dream is to see her walking. Even with her bad feet I
think that can happen soon. There is nothing else I can wish
Fused: Lakshmi's body was joined with the parasitical twin which
is attached to her body at her pelvis