An unnamed little boy from the southern Indian town of Puladinni can breathe easy. So can his parents, Chennabasava and Lalitamma. Undoubtedly, some neighbors into the future will still give them dirty looks while mumbling under their breath. However, the family will smile when someone jokes about their son tripping over his two left feet. As a result of a recent operation, the tiny infant no longer has two left feet, or two right feet. Born with four legs and two penises, the child’s life started under weird circumstances.
Born in January in the state of Karnataka, doctors knew right away that something was wrong with the child. They recognized that his extra body parts resulted from Polymelia. A genetic disease, both environmental factors and abnormal chromosomes cause Polymelia. The disorder is also called “parasitic twins.” While in the womb, an embryo develops into conjoined twins. However, after some time, one of the twins stops growing. While overall growth stops and the twin is never viable, its limbs and organs continue to grow. These appendages remain attached to the one living baby.
Clinic doctors knew right after the child’s birth that he needed special care. Three days and 200 miles later, Chennabasava, Lalitamma, and their son arrived at Narayana Health City. Although parasitic twins are rare worldwide, an alarming number have been born in India during the last decade. Three of the earlier cases received treatment from Dr. Sanjay Rao at Narayana Health City. The pediatric surgeon gained international fame in 2008 when he treated Lakshmi Tatma. The little girl, born with four arms and four legs, became an object of religious devotion. Thousands of people rushed to worship her. They proclaimed that Lakshmi was a reincarnation of Vishnu’s wife, Laxmi (Lakshmi). In Hinduism, Laxmi is the goddess of wealth and has four arms.
With the help of 20 physicians and nurses, Dr. Rao began preparing for the boy’s surgery. Because the body’s anatomy was so unusual, doctors had to carefully map out where blood vessels intersected to ensure the child did not bleed to death during the operation. Fortunately, after a 5-hour procedure, doctors successfully removed the extra legs and penis. The entire hospital stay was provided at no cost and the family looks forward to the future. Although the boy may have some ugly scars, doctors expect him to otherwise have a normal life.