'Miracle boy' becomes real boy

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When an abandoned newborn survived an attack by wild animals in a central Vietnam forest in 2006, people dubbed him "miracle boy."

Two years later, the boy, named Phung Thien Nhan, received prosthetics for his right leg from a hospital in the US.

Nobody believed, at the time, that his penis, (devoured during the wild animal attack) could be recreated by his own flesh.

Now, doctor's say, Nhan has a chance at being a healthy boy.

In 2006, the child was discovered 72 hours after being abandoned at birth by his teenage mother in a jungle in central Vietnam.

The newborn was mauled by a wild animal, most likely a dog, which chewed off his right leg and badly savaged his genitals.

After being found by villagers, he was rushed to the nearest hospital and saved.

Nhan was then adopted by Tran Mai Anh and Phung Quang Nghinh, a Hanoi journalist couple who spent the ensuing years raising donations for reconstructive surgeries and prosthetics to make the boy whole again.

In April, 2008, Nhan's adopted mother took him to a major children's hospital in Thailand.

Doctors there said reconstructing his penis was impossible and recommended that Nhan undergo a transgender surgery.

Anh shook her head. "The Creator made this baby as a boy. Let he be a boy," she told them.

At the end of 2009, Anh and her adopted child flew to a hospital in Texas where doctors said they hoped to recreate his penis only when he reached puberty.

Anh's hopes of helping Nhan determine his gender before entering school at age six seemed lost, until she was introduced to an Italian researcher who told her of a new, experimental procedure.

Dr. Roberto De Castro believed that Nhan's sex organs could be recreated using skin taken from his belly.

The Italian physician seemed sure the penis would grow along as Nhan's body developed.

Anh and Greig Craft, Nhan's godfather and President of the Hanoi-based Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, flew to Blogana to meet doctor Castro some time last year. 

Surgery was set for January 29, 2011 at half the normal cost.

Before the operation, Nhan told his mother, "Mom, Don't be worried. I won't be hurt. I won't cry."

After nine hours of surgery, Thien Nhan became a real boy.

Talking to the press after conducting the operation, doctor Castro said he was touched by the little boy's story and was impressed by the little child's bravery.

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