Laxmi is smiling. The two-year-old child from Rampur village in Bihar with eight limbs was believed by some – including even her mother Poonam – to be the reincarnation of Vishnu.
But now, after the second corrective surgery on her on January 22 in Jodhpur, she has joined the world of mortals and is recouping fast. Government hospital doctors in Jodhpur, who worked for 27 hours on the child, say she will be able to lead a normal life.
Lakshmi Tatma was born conjoined to a “parasitic twin” and went under the knife for the first time in Narayana Health City hospital in Bangalore in November 2007. Thirty surgeons, led by Dr Sharan Patil, worked for 40 hours to remove two of her useless arms and legs.
After the first surgery, he said, “Fortunately, Lakshmi has one complete body with a near perfect set of organs. Her skeletal system involves two bodies which are fused together at the level of the pelvis.”
Laxmi and her family shifted to Jodhpur after that and were adopted by Sucheta Kripalani Sikshan Sansthan (SKSS) of Manaklao, 15 km away from Jodhpur in, December 2007. The non-profit organisation, which runs a school for handicapped children, is now looking after Laxmi and has given a job and shelter to her father, Shambhu Das.
Shambhu, a daily wage earner, said, “We could never imagine that so many unknown people would come forward to help our daughter.” Poonam said, “I hope that my daughter will need no more surgeries.”
Dr Vinod Katju, who teaches Orthopaedics in the government-run Jodhpur Medical College, led the team of doctors that performed the second surgery on Laxmi. He said, “I think she would recover soon and I don’t see any possibility of more surgeries.”