For Tirso Furcal, having a sixth finger projecting from one hand and an extra toe on each foot made life in his impoverished country, the Dominican Republic, even more difficult.

he condition made walking painful, caused the stone-polisher frequent injuries and blocked his hopes for better-paying work. Now, thanks to the generosity of a hospital and surgeons in Jersey City, the extra digits have been removed and Furcal, 41, is healing quickly. Next week, he will return to his wife and three children in his village, Brisas de los Palemeras, a region where several other residents, mainly children, also have extra fingers and toes.

"The majority of the time, it interfered with everything I did, especially when I had to lift up heavy stones," Furcal said through an interpreter.

"The surgery was a success," he said in the interview, eight days after his Nov. 11 surgery at Jersey City Medical Center. "I'm hoping things will be better."

He now plans to go to school and pursue his dream of a career in electronics repair, something previously impossible because his deformity prevented him from getting his hands inside electronic equipment.

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