Medical marvel gives Lakshmi a new life
November 7, 2007
t was a historic moment for Indian medical science when a team of 36 doctors successfully operated upon two-year-old Lakshmi -- a conjoined twin.
A beaming team of doctors headed by Dr Sharan Shivraj Patil announced on Wednesday morning that the 27-hour-long surgery had been completed and Lakshmi was safe now. The doctor was, however, quick to add that she was still under observation.
Doctors said the operation was expected to last 40 hours, but they were able to complete it in 27 hours. The doctors who started operating upon Lakshmi on Tuesday had successfully separated the spines of the conjoined twin. The orthopedic surgeon had reconstructed the pelvic wing, Dr Patil said, adding that the major achievement was bringing the pelvic ring bones together. "This almost does away with another process," Dr Patil said.
akshmi was born two years on Diwali in Araria village in Bihar. Although the people of the village treated her as a re-incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, for doctors she was an ischiopagus conjoined twin.
One of the twins is headless and has two pairs of arms and legs. The villagers offered to build a temple in her name and there was also a circus company, which had offered the parents a lot of money, if they gave her to them.
The parents who are very attached to this child rushed to Delhi, but the doctors said that no surgery could be performed. By then, Dr Patil of the Sparsh hospital had read about the girl in the news papers and rushed to Bihar and offered free medical help. He said the parents did not have to worry about the medical costs before bringing the child to Bangalore. The complicated operation cost Rs 26 lakh.
here were joyous scenes at the hospital when the doctor announced that the operation had been a success. Lakshmi's parents who were present at the hospital were anxious throughout the operation. The moment doctors gave them the good news, both broke down in joy.
Lakshmi's father Shambu said this was the biggest Diwali gift. "Lakshmi was born two years ago on Diwali and this year, she is okay. What more can I ask for," Shambu said.
Dr Patil said doctors were very excited and did not intend to go home for the next two days.
The biggest challenge was to maintain stability in the child while the operation was being performed, he said, adding that another achievement was that they did not jeoparadise any aspect of Lakshmi during the operation. He thanked all those who had prayed for the child, including actor Shah Rukh Khan who had sent in his wishes.
octors say it is too early to say what would happen to Lakshmi next.
This is a rare condition and such surgeries take place only once in 50,000 cases. There have been similar cases in the past, but the success rate has been negligible.
Doctors said it may take at least a few more months before Lakshmi could be normal. They, however, say that the real challenge will start now and the child has to be monitored continuously.
The parents say they will stay on in Bangalore until their child recovers and then go back to their village in Bihar. They have not yet seen their child after the surgery. According to the doctors, the child will be on ventilator for the next 48 hours and the parents could only see her later in the evening. However, they will not be able to talk to her.