A twenty month-old girl has kept the hearts and minds of well-wishers around the world compelled with her fascinating story. Dubbed the “little mermaid”, Milagros Cerron, or ‘Mili’ as she is more fondly known, was born with fused legs resembling the tail of a fish.
She suffers from a rare condition called “mermaid syndrome” or “sirenomelia“. Babies with the condition are expected to die within days of birth, as a result of various kidney and digestive problems. Milagros is one of only three known survivors.
The Channel Four programme covered the events leading up to Mili’s inimitable operation, where her two legs were separated. Narcissistic surgeon and future presidential candidate, Luis Rubio, broadcast the entire five-hour procedure, carried out in February 2005, across TV-networks worldwide. The programme was a fascinating insight into the world of medical politics, ethics and consent, with Mili’s parents forced to watch the procedure from a viewing gallery whilst members of the press stayed inside the operating theatre.
The operation was initially a success, with the surgical team able to separate Mili’s legs up until the thighs. Regrettably, Mili became traumatised by the procedure and found herself in the following months. Further surgery will be required to further separate her limbs up to her pelvis, and to reconstruct sexual, digestive and other internal organs, along with her splayed feet.
I for one, will remain attuned to this most-inspiring story.
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