HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Fire extinguisher near it, combustible baby doing fine

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chennai, August 13, 2013
First Published: 01:45 IST(13/8/2013) | Last Updated: 02:42 IST(13/8/2013)

In good news for the parents of 3-month-old Rahul, who used to catch fire on his own, is doing fine and responding to treatment.


“The baby is normal, active and fine,” Dr Jayachandran, who is attending on Rahul at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital here, said on Monday. He said 99% of the baby’s burns have healed. The baby is under observation in the intensive care unit.

“We have also consulted specialists from AIIMS in Delhi and PGI in Chandigarh. None of the doctors and specialists we sought out from the best of medical institutions in India had encountered such a case,” Dr Jayachandran said.

Doctors said Rahul’s condition, known as Spontaneous Human Combustion, is so rare that only 200 such cases were reported in the last 300 years. In this condition, the body burns spontaneously due to gases and fluids emitted by it.

“A bucket of water and fire extinguisher have to always be kept near the baby,” said Dr Narayana Babu, another doctor attending on Rahul. The parents would also be taught how to take special care of the baby.

Rahul’s parents said he has “caught fire” four times in the three months since his birth. His mother, Rajeswari, said the first instance was when he was just nine days old. Her husband Karna is an agricultural labourer.

Rahul’s blood and urine samples have been sent to Hyderabad and Mumbai for tests that will try to detect any inborn errors of metabolism that cause him to catch fire.

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