A schoolgirl from the Philippines will soon have her life changed after she has lived with extra limbs dangling from her stomach for 14 years.
14-year-old Veronica Cominguez was born with two extra arms and half-formed fingers on her stomach, after her parasitic twin did not develop properly in the womb.
Veronica, who lives in Iligan City, in the Philippines, has dealt with the extra limbs for her whole life – cleaning her “twin’s” growing arms and cutting the fingernails that grow on the extra fingers.
There is also another growth beneath the arms, which reportedly has muscles in it.
When I was little, I thought it was just a foot. But as I grew up, it became bigger.
It’s heavy, it limits my movement. It keeps swinging. My dress often gets wet.
Despite not being able to see a doctor, Veronica’s mother, Flora Cominguez, knew she was having twins when she got pregnant, and explained twins ran in the family.
The mother had picked out names for her two babies, but devastatingly Veronica’s sibling didn’t develop as expected, leaving her with the additional limbs that did begin to grow.
Flora explained that liquid often comes out of her daughter’s bellybutton – and sometimes there is blood in the liquid.
The liquid that comes out of the opening smells bad, like human excretion.
According to GMA Network, the girl’s family were advised to have the limbs removed early in Veronica’s life, but they couldn’t afford the operation.
However, after her unusual start to life, the young girl is now set to undergo surgery to have the extra limbs removed.
Locals raised money for Veronica to fly to Thailand for an operation on her torso, after which she will be free of the growths.
The girl has received compliments on her nature and personality, and those supporting her have wished her a healthy life after the removal of the extra limbs.
According to Veronica’s doctor, Dr. Beda Espineda, the girl’s surgery shouldn’t be too complicated.
The doctor, who works as a paediatric surgeon at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, said:
Most of these cases can be removed because, usually, the body structures involved are not vital.
Most of them are just attached to the skin or bones. For surgeons, it is easy to remove.
The schoolgirl is now awaiting her surgery, and is due to fly to Thailand in the coming weeks.
The Barangay council of Kabacsanan has Veronica in its welfare system. Last Friday (July 27), on behalf of the Barangay council, a spokesperson wished Veronica well with her surgery and life afterwards.
It has been arranged for Veronica to have an operation and we hope that she will live a normal, healthy life after this.
Life has not been easy for her but she’s a very sensible, clever and mature girl.
She’s a wonderful pupil. Everyone is very pleased for her that she can soon have an operation.
We wish Veronica the best of the luck with her operation!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.