Lakshmi’s first step towards normalcy, surgery successful
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A complex surgery to separate a headless parasitic conjoined twin attached to the lower body of two-year-old Lakshmi was completed on Wednesday morning at a hospital here, with doctors announcing progress as per plan. The surgery, completed nearly 13 hours ahead of the projected 40 hours, and the story of Lakshmi and her family is expected to be made into a documentary by UK-based Channel 4 for its Bodyshock series on abnormal bodies.
A Channel 4 television crew has been filming the story of Lakshmi for the past six months — her eight limbed existence in the village of Rampur in Araia district of Bihar and the attitude of people in the village towards her. "Things really began moving for us after they came into the scene. One of them visited us in Bihar first and then brought along a doctor. That is how we were able to come to Bangalore for Lakshmi's treatment," said Santosh Tatma, Lakshmi's uncle. Members of the television crew said the Tatma family live on the the daily wages earned by Lakshmi's father Shambhu. His wife, who used to work before, was forced to stay at home after Lakshmi's birth. "People in the village offered to build a temple for her because they considered her a goddess, but little was being done to help them feed themselves," one of the crew members said.
The story of the eight-limbed girl is reported to have caught the eye of Bodyshock producers after a local publication carried a small story about her. Through the 27-hour surgery, one camera team stayed glued to the operation theatre while a second roamed around the hospital capturing the moods and emotions of her parents, the waiting media and the hospital in general.
"She is stable and has been shifted to the ICU where she will be closely monitored for the next 48 to 72 hours, which will be critical," Dr Sharan Patil, orthopaedic surgeon and head of the hospital where the surgery was conducted said. "The surgery went remarkably as per plan. We had most of the information required and therefore there were very few surprises on the operating table and we were able to preserve all structures planned," paediatric surgeon Ashley D'Cruz, a member of the 36-member team, said.
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