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Post-op 8-limbed girl 'doing well'

  • Story Highlights
  • Girl born with eight limbs makes first public appearance since surgery
  • Surgeons say Lakshmi Tatma, two, "coping very well," making good progress
  • Lakshmi released from intensive care Tuesday; appears at press conference
  • Operation lasted 27 hours and involved 30 surgeons working eight-hour shifts
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BANGALORE, India (CNN) -- Two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, an Indian toddler born with four arms and four legs, made her first public appearance Tuesday, a week after surgeons in India successfully removed her additional limbs.

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Doctors said Lakshmi was recovering well as she appeared Tuesday at a news conference.

Lakshmi, wearing a plaster cast on her legs to keep her feet up and her legs together to help her wounds heal, was carried into a news conference Tuesday as her doctors announced she was being released from intensive care.

"She is coping very well," lead surgeon Dr. Sharan Patil said. "She is being carried around by her mother and her father."

Several of her doctors, all of them smiling, described her recovery over the past week "very steady and good progress," one saying she is "out of the woods" as far as serious medical issues are concerned. Video Watch the recovering little girl meet the media »

The operation a week ago lasted 27 hours and involved a team of some 30 surgeons, all specialists in pediatrics, neurosurgery, orthopedics, and plastic surgery, working in eight-hour shifts.

Lakshmi's extra limbs were part of a conjoined twin which stopped developing in the womb. It had a torso and limbs but no head, and was joined to Lakshmi at the pelvis.

Doctors said that without the surgery, Lakshmi would have been unlikely to survive beyond early adolescence.

The surgery involved the removal of the extra limbs and the repositioning of Lakshmi's organs.

When Lakshmi was born into her poor, rural Indian family, villagers in the remote settlement of Rampur Kodar Katti in the northern state of Bihar believed she was sacred. As news of her birth spread, locals queued for a blessing from the baby.

Her parents, Shambhu and Poonam Tatma, named the girl after the Hindu goddess of wealth who has four arms. However, they were forced to keep her in hiding after they were approached by men offering money in exchange for putting their daughter in a circus.

The couple, who earn just $1 a day as casual laborers, wanted her to have the operation but were unable to pay for the rare procedure, which had never before been performed in India.

After Patil visited the girl in her village from Narayana Health City hospital in Bangalore, the hospital's foundation agreed to fund the $200,000 operation.

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Planning for the surgery took a month, Patil said, and Lakshmi spent that month in the hospital.

Many villagers, however, remained opposed to surgery and were planning to erect a temple to Lakshmi, whom they still revere as sacred. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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