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Aug 10, 2013 at 08:29pm IST

Tamil Nadu: 3-month-old catches fire due to spontaneous human combustion

Chennai: Three-month-old Rahul, who is admitted in the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH) in this Tamil Nadu capital with 10 degree burn injuries because of a condition called spontaneous human combustion (SHC), is stable, doctors said on Saturday.

"The baby is stable and treatment is on for burn injuries and scars. Life-saving support systems are there for Rahul in the intensive care unit," R Narayana Babu, head of pediatrics at the hospital said on Saturday. He said the baby will be under observation and may be discharged after two weeks depending on his condition.

Doctors say that in SHC, burns are caused as the body catches fire because of the excretion of gases.

3-month-old catches fire due to spontaneous human combustion

Doctors say in spontaneous human combustion, the body catches fire because of the excretion of gases.

"The mother told us that the baby has suffered four episodes of such spontaneous fire and suffered burn injuries. The last episode was a month back. The baby was admitted to the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) (in Puducherry)," R Jayachandran a professor in the department of pediatrics at KMC said.

"The family does not have any medical records and we have to check with JIPMER for the case sheet," Jayachandran said.

According to Babu, the baby has burn injuries in the abdomen and chest. The injuries are on the front of the body. "We have only the mother's version. The baby has to be carefully observed. We have to investigate whether the ailment is genetic. We will carry out tests to find out the kind of gases generated by the baby," Jayachandran said.

Doctors said some of the tests needed were very costly and may have to be done elsewhere. The doctor said until a proper diagnosis is made, the baby would be given treatment that is only symptomatic, with the administration of antibiotics.

The baby's parents, Rajeswari and Karna, are agricultural labourers at Villupuram district, around 160 km from the state capital. Rahul has a two-year-old sister. The Villupuram district collector referred the baby to KMCH, a hospital that is well known for treating burn injuries.

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