Milagros Cerron, the "mermaid girl", is one of only three known cases of surviving children with the condition.
Milagros Cerron, the little girl in Peru known as the “mermaid baby”, is in urgent need of a kidney transplant.
Martin Mejia / AP
Peruvian doctor Luis Rubio play with nine-month-old Milagros Cerron in a public hospital in Lima, Peru, before the 2005 surgery that successfully separated her fused legs.
Seven-year-old Milagros survived sirenomelia, or mermaid syndrome -- a rare, usually lethal congenital malformation that fused her legs – but now needs surgery to reconstruct her urinary tract. The defect occurs in one out of every 70,000 pregnancies and there are only a three known cases of children with the condition alive in the world. Sironemelia is associated with kidney failure and gastrointestinal defects. An American girl Shiloh Pepin, who was born with sironemelia, died in 2009 at age 10.
In 2005, when Milagros, whose name means miracles in Spanish, was nine-months-old, doctors began the first of three operations to separate her legs. Surgeons, plastic surgeons, pediatricians and cardiologists all participated in the surgeries.
Now her father, Ricardo Cerron, is asking for help for his daughter, who has been undergoing dialysis three times a day for the last three years. He hopes she can have the operation in the U.S.
More from Vitals: