A two-year-old girl who was born with four arms and four legs is being operated on by Indian doctors. They hope that they will succeed and leave the girl with normal anatomy.
Click here to see pictures of the girl with eight limbs
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.
Others sought to make money from her. Her parents, Shambhu and Poonam, kept her in hiding after a circus apparently tried to buy the girl, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. The members of the family only go by their first names.
Doctors at Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore , where Lakshmi is undergoing surgery, said she is popular among the medical staff and other patients.
"She's a very cute girl," Dr. Patil Mamatha of Sparsh Hospital . "She's very playful and gets along well with others."
Doctors are working to remove the extra limbs and organs so she'll have a normal anatomy at the end of the operation, Mamatha said.
"We have high hopes of everything going fine and everything is going fine now," she said.
Surgery, aimed at removing the extra limbs and organs, began early Tuesday morning.
The hospital's foundation is paying for the operation because the girl's family could not afford the medical bills, said Mamatha. A team of 30 doctors will participate in the surgery.
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.