Obese girl with hormonal problem eating herself to death
Suman Khatun, a five year-old obese Indian girl who suffers from a suspected hormonal imbalance, is so insatiably hungry...
Suman Khatun, a five year-old obese Indian girl who suffers from a suspected hormonal imbalance, is so insatiably hungry she is eating herself to death, doctors fear.
In just one week, she devours over 10 kilograms of rice, 24 eggs, six litres of milk and five kilos of potatoes. Her hunger even leads her to sneak out and pester her neighbours for food in the village of Metiala in the Indian state of West Bengal.
Earning just £6 a week, her parents have reached their wits' end with their daughter who weighs in at almost 12 stone, despite being only three and half feet tall. "We can not feed ourselves or our other two children, let alone ourselves," says Suman's mother Belly Bibi, 33.
"When she is not fed she cries, shouts, screams and has even thrown rocks at us. "We give her four square meals a day and two small lunches, but this is never enough. "She is our daughter and we have no choice but to feed her."
Neighbours in the rural village also expect a daily knock on the door from Suman. "Every day we open our doors to a smiling Suman," says Faruq Khan, who farms the next rice paddy field. "She comes to play with our daughter, but always ends up asking for biscuits or some roti (Indian bread).
"It is no trouble at all for us, but it is difficult for her parents." Crippled by their daughter's appetite, Suman's family has been unable to afford to travel to Calcutta for expert medical treatment. "We have relied on the local doctor here who believes that Suman suffers from a hormonal problem," says Jalal Khan, 37, Suman's father.
"We are desperate to get her help, because we worry for Suman's health, which is not good." Suman struggles to walk as she suffers from severe respiratory problems.
"Suman's problems were first noticed when she was three months old," says Dr P C Saha, the local doctor for Birbhum district which includes Metiala. "I believe that it is a clear case of a malfunctioning pituitary gland.
"But without diagnostic tools I can only treat the symptoms." Dr Saha, who is assigned to Metiala from Calcutta, which is the largest city in West Bengal, says that he has never seen a case like this in his life.
"Her parents came to me when she was young and told me that she was exhausting her mother through breast feeding and that they were supplementing this with cow's milk. "They said that she was drinking up to 1 and a half litres of milk a day.
"She weighed seven stone when she was two years old and her weight has increased by up to 15 kilos every year. "I have told her parents that she will die if they do not stop feeding her or seek expert medical care in Delhi or in Mumbai."
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