Mum 'set fire to own children to get attention'

Mum 'set fire to own children to get attention'
Published: 2015 March 05 06:48:34 (8708 Views)
A woman in India has twice made headlines around the world after her babies allegedly caught fire without explanation but medics fear she is abusing them.

Medics are refusing to release the baby back to his mother, Rajeshwari Karnan, amid fears that she fabricated claims the boy and his brother spontaneously burst into flames.

In the first incident in 2013, baby Rahul ended up in intensive care ward at a hospital in India's Viluppuram District after neighbours heard him screaming and discovered the child on fire in his cot.

Mrs Karnan claimed he caught fire a further three times without explanation.

And in January, the family were again in the news when they claimed Rahul's newborn brother had also caught fire.

The 10-day-old child, who has not been named, was rushed into the Kilpauk Hospital with Mrs Karnan, claiming her son's feet had spontaneously combusted while she was in the bath.

Medics said the boy had about 10 percent burn damage to his feet.



The baby has been in hospital for over a month now and doctors say the burns have healed and the baby is now fit for discharge.

Hospital dean Narayana Babu said: "All tests reveal he is completely normal. The parents went through psychiatric counselling and were found to be normal."

But medics are still reluctant to hand the child amid fears one of the parents, they suspect the mother, is suffering from Munchausen by proxy syndrome - a mental illness whereby a parent seeks to harm their child in order to get attention.

Child psychiatrist Shiva Prakash Srinivasan told local media: "This need for attention is fulfilled by bringing the child into a hospital with a medical condition, and getting attention, and in this case with worldwide headlines."

Mrs Karnan, 25, who also has an older daughter, Narmatha, said the suggestion she had caused the fires that injured her two sons was ludicrous.

But medics questioned the spontaneous combustion explanation, pointing out that the phenomenon has never been proven to exist and given the large amount of water the average human body contains.

British research biologist Brian J. Ford has argued in two articles, one of which appeared in the New Scientist, that spontaneous human combustion may be caused by a chemical called acetone that is produced naturally.



Source - Mirror

Tags: fire, abuse, attention,
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