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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
'Mermaid' girl takes first steps
Milagros Cerron (6 September 2006)
Milagros will need further surgery to reconstruct internal organs
A Peruvian girl, known as the "Little Mermaid", has taken her first steps after undergoing a second round of surgery to separate her fused legs.

Milagros Cerron, now two years old, is thought to be one of the world's few surviving "Mermaid syndrome" babies.

Most with her condition, called sirenomelia, die within days of birth because organs are also badly affected.

An operation was performed on her thighs earlier this month and she will require more surgery over the next 10


Dr Luis Rubio, the chief surgeon in her case, said his team had "reached 98%" of their goal and subsequent surgery would be mostly cosmetic, to make Milagros look "normal".

"We just need to finish up some touches on her lines. You know, you have to give some form to a mermaid and make her look as a normal person," said Dr Rubio, who has treated Milagros since she was two days old.

'A normal life'

Milagros' father, Ricardo Cerron, said he hoped "with faith in God" that she would be able to walk and have a normal life.

"I hope we could go for a walk, that she could go to school, and do it by herself. That's what I would like," said Mr Cerron.

The two-year-old will need further surgery to reconstruct sexual, digestive and other internal organs, along with her splayed feet. The city of Lima has pledged to pay for these operations.

Milagros, whose names means miracles in Spanish, was born in April 2004 in the Andean town of Huancayo, 200km (125 miles) east of Lima.

The only person who is known to have survived in the long term is 17-year-old American Tiffany Yorks, whose legs were separated before she was one year old.

'Mermaid' girl may walk - doctors
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