Lakshmi Tatma, born exactly a year ago as a medical anomaly with four hands and feet in a remote town of Bihar, now stands, talks, runs and giggles like any other toddler her age.
The story of Lakshmi's birth, her parent's dilemma, the reactions of global media and local villagers who regarded her as the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi because she was born on Diwali day, and the complicated surgery she underwent to remove the extra pair of limbs is scheduled to be telecast on Discovery Channel on Saturday, October 8.
Lakshmi was born a parasitic twin with two bodies united at the pelvis. Only one of the twins had a head. Two pairs of arms and legs had formed at either end of the two adjoining torsos, creating a child with eight limbs.
After exactly one year Sharan Patil the doctor who led the operating team says, "Everything is fine now. It has been a mathematically perfect operation.
There have been no setbacks yet and Lakshmi has begun to walk independently. All investigations and from all points of view she has been found to be functioning normally."
A team from Discovery accompanied Patil right from the beginning when the doctor, who is Chief Orthopedic surgeon at Sparsh Hospital, Bangalore heard about the case and offered his services for free. It filmed almost everything including the 27-hour long operation that was attempted for the first time in India.
"Cases like Lakshmi are extremely rare. Medical literature point out that there have been 3 or 4 cases like her, two in the US and one in Europe which were successfully operated and one case in London over 20 years ago where the lady survived and went on to live a near normal life. Of course there are many attempts that do not get published," says Patil.