Results of skin biopsy and other tests are normal; grandmother given counselling

The ‘self-combustible’ baby boy, Rahul, is completely normal, according to test results that arrived on Monday.

Results of a skin biopsy and a test to check for errors in metabolism as well as for genetic karyotyping (to study the composition of cells) conducted by the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMC), where the three-month-old is admitted, were all normal, doctors said.

However, doctors have now decided to conduct a sweat swab test, and have wrapped Rahul’s left hand in a plastic bag to trap moisture.

Rahul, born on May 22, was brought to KMC 12 days ago by his parents who said he had spontaneously gone up in flames four times since his birth.

His parents, Rajeswari and Karna, are casual labourers from T. Parangini, a hamlet in Villupuram district.

The boy was examined by several burns specialists and a battery of tests was conducted on him to rule out spontaneous human combustion.

Plastic surgeons and paediatricians said Rahul’s was a complex case and are not ruling out the possibility of child abuse.

J. Jagan Mohan, head of the plastic surgery department at KMC, who had examined the child initially, said: “How the child sustained burns is still not known. But the injury is due to contact with a hot object or scalding material. As burn injuries do not cause breakage of bones or the rupture of internal organs, the possibility of child abuse is still not ruled out.”

A hospital official at Villupuram Medical College Hospital where Rahul was admitted twice said, both times, the police were informed and a case was registered.

“We have given KMC doctors the details of the injuries and the treatment given to the baby. As the case is under investigation, we cannot reveal more,” said a doctor who treated the child there.

It is learnt that the police have started their investigation and are trying to collect evidence from the scene where Rahul is believed to have gone up in flames.

On Monday, Rahul’s maternal grandmother underwent psychiatric counselling at KMC.

Hospital sources said the child was visited by politicians last week who also gave the family some money.

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