Is Spontaneous Combustion to Blame for Infant's Condition?

First Posted: Aug 23, 2013 10:33 AM EDT

Scientists and health officials are puzzled by what's causing a 3-month-old Indian baby to catch fire.

According to the New York Times, the infant is currently being treated at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai, India after his parents watched him catch fire four separate times.

"There was a flame on his belly and his right knee, and my husband rushed with a towel to put it off," said his mother, Rajeshwari Karnan, via the news organization. "I got very scared."

The Times of India notes that multiple medical tests showed that the baby could catch fire without any ignition from a source.

"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, so we'll keep Rahul and his mother Rajeshwari in a place where he will also get additional protection, but only after his parents' approval," said ICCW general secretary Chandradevi Thanikachalam, according to the Times of India.

The parents of the child said the child suddenly burst into flames one afternoon. 

"We are in a dilemma and haven't come to any conclusion," said Dr. Narayan Babu, head of pediatrics at Kilpauk Medical Hospital, where the child arrived in early August with first and second degree burns and infected skin, via 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."

As many scientists are skeptical regarding SHC (spontaneous human combustion), the theory regarding the problem has gained some support over the last few years when an Irish coroner listed spontaneous human combustion as the cause of death of a 76-year-old Irishman who had burnt to death with no apparent source causing the fire.  

The news organization notes that counseling will be provided for the parents regarding their son's mysterious medical condition.

Yet further tests results regarding the child's health and normal findings are causing them to rule out SHC. 

"The baby is likely to be discharged tomorrow. We've informed police also," said Dr Narayana Babu of KMC, via the Times of India. 

Do you believe in SHC? Tell us what you think in the comments below. 

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