Baby Mermaid Sails Through Surgery

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Milagros Cerron, 13 months, made good on the promise of her name (which means “miracle”), and said goodbye to her mermaid ways.

Not that the Peruvian infant had a choice, after all. Milagros was born with a rare congenital defect known as sirenomelia, or “mermaid syndrome,” fusing her legs together from heels to thighs.

She’s a rare one all right, as only one in 70,000 babies are born with the condition and Milagros is only one of three known survivors in the world.

It took 11 doctors (a team of plastic surgeons, pediatricians, and heart specialists), four and a half hours, and a lot of prayer to free the baby from her bound condition. And if you lived in Peru, you were able to see the broadcast.

For the more squeamish, the after photos are fine. Milagros’ parents watched the surgery on a closed circuit feed in a nearby room of Lima’s Solidarity Hospital.

Sara, the 20-year-old mother, never had a doubt.

“I had faith and that faith is becoming reality. Never, never did I give up my faith,” she said.

And that faith seems to have paid off as doctors had originally only planned to separate up to the knees. But once the surgery began, it became clear that they could continue all the way up.

Doctors were also relieved to learn that the most challenging element of the procedure, a bypass of the crossover artery that connected both legs, wouldn’t be necessary. A half an hour into surgery, Dr. Luis Rubio announced that the first obstacle (the possible bypass) had been overcome.

“This is the final result that we have come to in this extraordinary surgical intervention. We have mobility of the independent knee joints,” said Rubio after the procedure was finished.

Little Milagros isn’t quite in the clear yet, however. She is expected to face up to 15 years of corrective surgery on her internal organs.

Baby Mermaid Sails Through Surgery
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