4 LEGS:A baby dubbed an ‘alien’ after she was born with four legs has had her extra pair removed during a complex operation.
The five-month-old, who is yet to be named, was born in January with her parasitic twin brother fixed to her spine.
Local doctors were originally baffled as to why she had the extra limbs, and insisted that her mother, Surekha Muli, 22, was cursed.
But after eventually getting a diagnosis, both she and her husband Pratap, 25, were forced to wait for months before she was allowed to have life-saving surgery.
Surgeons finally performed the procedure last Wednesday, with the mother-of-four saying her family is now complete.
Mrs Muli said: ‘I felt so bad when people came to see my child, as if she was an alien.
The five-month-old, yet to be named, was born in January with her parasitic twin brother fixed to her spine (pictured before surgery at the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat)
‘They would often pass comments and say I deserved it as I was cursed. I was helpless but I didn’t lose hope.’
‘I cannot even express my happiness in words and I cannot thank the doctors enough for their assistance and effort to save my child.
‘I feel blessed to see my child normal now. Our family is now complete and life and can continue.’
Mrs Muli, from a small village in Gujarat, western India, was too poor to have an ultrasound during her pregnancy.
As a result, she was left completely unaware of her child’s condition until they were delivered at a local hospital.
Seeing the extra limbs on the girl devastated both Mrs Muli and her husband, Pratap, 25, a farmer who earns only Rs 100 (£1) a day.
Doctors were unsure if the baby would even survive, forcing the family to seek medical help from various sources.
As weeks passed and the community became aware about the baby, Mrs Muli was called ‘cursed’ by cruel strangers.
The couple eventually visited the government-run Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in February
Here, doctors diagnosed the extra limbs to be a result of a parasitic twin. Unlike conjoined twins, one is incompletely formed or wholly dependent on some bodily functions of the complete foetus.
Cases of parasitic twins are rare and believed to account for just one per one million live births, according to medical literature.
Doctors at the hospital examined the baby and eventually decided to operate when the baby was stronger – lowering any potential risk.
Dr Rakesh Joshi, paediatric surgeon at the hospital, said: ‘We could not have taken any chance with the child as she was too small to undergo such major surgery.
4 LEGS:After eventually being told the extra legs were a result of a parasitic twin, the parents were forced to wait for months before she was allowed to have life-saving surgery (pictured together as a family after the surgery)
‘A physically deformed child with four legs could not have survived for too long like that. She could manage until now but she would’ve struggled later in life.’
4 LEGS:’In order to avoid any cardiac issue and loss of the baby, we wanted the child to be at least three-months-old before we could actually take her for surgery.’
No need to pay for surgery
The parents were sent home and told to return last week, when they decided to remove the extra limbs, free of cost.
The infant survived the complex surgery to get the extra limbs removed in a five-hour long surgery by six doctors, on May 24.
4 LEGS:Dr Joshi said ‘it was an extremely complex operation’ because the parasitic twin was attached to the spinal cord of the fully grown child.
However, he added that the operation to remove the boy who was only partially formed was a complete success.
The baby weighed 16.3lbs (7.4kg) before the surgery. But now she weighs 5.6kg (12.3lbs), local reports suggest.
Surgeons to discharge her later this week
Surgeons said she is currently recovering at the hospital and is expected to be discharged at some point later this week.
4 LEGS:Dr Joshi, who had never seen such a case before, added: ‘We were very shocked by the condition.
‘She is doing fine now with two legs and is moving all her four limbs normally. She is taking feeds properly and is responding well to post surgery treatment. We expect to discharge her from the hospital in two days.
‘It was a big challenge to operate on her and we are delighted to have done it successfully.’