The amount of information about your baby given to you after childbirth can be overwhelming, but we highly doubt the fact that your infant could spontaneously burst into flames was ever part of the wealth of knowledge. Sadly, one Indian family found out that, while extremely rare, it is possible.
Baby Rahul suffers from Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC), a condition that has reportedly been seen in 200 cases over the past 300 years, with the last reported case having had occurred in the U.S. in 2010. The head of pediatrics at the hospital in India where Rahul was treated said that in the “rarest of rare occurrence,” combustible gas is excreted from the body. At that point, the smallest spark, such as from static electricity from a nearby blanket, can ignite the victim.
Even more devastating, when it first happened to Rahul, is that people in Rahul’s mother’s village thought they set him on fire, so their family became the town pariahs. Since then, however, mom Rajeswari has found the baby burning three more times.
Rahul’s parents have been taught how to raise the baby in a way that will keep him from combusting. One doctor tells the Deccan Chronicle, “We have to teach them to avoid sending the child out in the sun and specify the kinds of clothes he can wear when he grows up.”
What a devastating story — our hearts go out to this poor family and others who are stricken by this rare by horrifying condition.