'Mermaid Baby' Marks Another Milestone
LIMA, Peru (April 29) -- It's a special birthday for a special little girl in Lima, Peru. Milagros Cerron turns three. Celebrating with her are her doctors, who saved her life.
The little girl known as the "mermaid baby" was born with her legs fused together from her thighs to her ankles. She suffers from sirenomelia, commonly called "mermaid syndrome," a rare defect that affects one in 70,000 children. Most die within days of birth. In fact, there are only three known cases of children with the affliction alive in the world today.
Milagros survived, in part because of the generosity of the city of Lima, that paid for her medical care. In June 2005 doctors successfully performed a risky surgery to separate her legs to above the knees.
After three years of extensive surgery to separate her legs, Milagros can now walk on her own and even takes ballet lessons.
Doctors say she will need several more operations in the years ahead, the next coming in about two years to reconstruct other internal organs.