Spontaneous Combustion Baby In India? 3-Month-Old Rahul Startles Doctors; What Really Caused The Infant's Burns? [VIDEO]

By Danny Choy on August 23, 2013 9:18 PM EDT

spontaneous combustion baby
Did spontaneous combustion burn a 3-month-old baby in India? (Photo: YouTube)

A 3-month-old baby in India is being treated for possible spontaneous combustion at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital after parents claimed that the child, named Rahul, was on fire four seperate times. The bizarre symptom has left doctors stunned.

According to the young Rahul's mother, Rajeshwari Karnan, he was only nine days old when the first incident occurred. She first discovered that he was on fire inside her hut after he was momentarily left alone.

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"There was a flame on his belly and his right knee, and my husband rushed with a towel to put it off," Karnan told the New York Times. "I got very scared." Unfortunately, the horrifying incident did not end there. Since baby Rahul's parents have brought him to a local hospital for examination, another three incidents have occurred.

The parents of the "spontaneous combustion baby" eventually traveled to Kilpauk Medical College Hospital for more extensive treatment to save his life. Doctors grasping for understanding decided to investigate whether 3-month-old Rahul could possibly suffer from spontaneous human combustion. In addition, doctors are also evaluating whether the child is a victim of abuse or is experiencing other medical conditions.

"We are in a dilemma and haven't come to any conclusion," Dr. Narayan Babu, head of pediatrics at Kilpauk Medical Hospital, told the New York Times. "The parents have held that the child burned instantaneously without any provocation. We are carrying out numerous tests. We are not saying it is SHC until all investigations are complete."

Historically, there have been other reports of spontaneous human combustion. In one instance, reports claim a person was reduced to ash in the area where the body lied inside the home. However, the incredible heat did not cause the rest of the structure to burn.

A majority of scientists are skeptical of spontaneous human combustion and no plausible evidence has supported the notion. However, research biologist Brian J. Ford expressed a possible explanation in an article published in 2012. According to Ford, higher levels of acetone may cause the body to spontaneously combust. Ford experimented with meat soaked in acetone and found that after the material burned, it resulted in a pile of ash similar to those found in cases of suspected spontaneous human combustion.

Ultimately, doctors did not find abnormalities in Rahul that indicated spontaneous combustion. Instead, the team will examine whether the child suffered abuse or accidents. Rahul's doctors of the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital spoke to the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) on Thursday:

"Nobody has been able to pinpoint the reason why Rahul suffered burn injuries. Our aim is to protect the child until a conclusion is reached," said ICCW general secretary Chandradevi Thanikachalam. "We'll keep Rahul and his mother Rajeshwari in a place where he will also get additional protection, but only after his parents' approval."

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