Man sets son on fire over missing cash

December 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – A 10 year old boy is receiving treatment at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital after being allegedly set on fire by his father.

The incident is reported to have taken place in Kawangware when the boy’s father came home drunk and accused him of stealing money. He then went ahead and doused the boy in paraffin before setting him ablaze.

Neighbours who heard the boy’s cries rushed to the scene, rescued him and rushed him to the hospital where he has been receiving treatment since Monday.

 According to Doctor Omondi Wasuna, the boy sustained over 35 percent burns on his face and stomach with second to third degree burns and still requires close medical attention.

“It takes time to get out of danger because the effects of no skin begin to set in. It (the skin) begins to lose water and salts within 24 to 48 hours the salts become deranged. Infections start setting in. When you get burnt some of the by-products of the burnt material are taken into the body. These materials are poisonous to the kidney and they begin to have their effects on it. So 48 hours later, what looked like a stable patient could just change,” he said.

Dr Wasuna further explained that the hospital had so far administered water and salts necessary for healing the damaged skin and tissue as well as antibiotics to kill the germs and pain killers to relieve pain.

“One can really dry out very quickly having been burnt on 35 percent of the body surface area so we have issued fluid replacement. We have also had to ensure that the salt environment of the body is right because the skin is also involved in regulating the different salts. A derangement in these salts could cause death,” he said.

He added that the entire healing process would take a while as the damage caused to the boy’s body was extensive, “It will be a long slow walk to total health but at least we have begun the journey,” he said.

Dr Wasuna also clarified that the earlier reports (which were given by the hospital) that the boy had suffered 50 percent burns were an overestimate to prevent doctors from under scoring the gravity of the burns.

“Sometimes we have to slightly over estimate so that we can not under treat the patient. The percentages we have now given show a more accurate depiction of how extensive the burns were,” he said.

He asked the government to put in place policies that would ensure harsh penalties on perpetrators of violence against children adding that the case the worst the hospital had received so far.

“I mean pushing for legislation is important for certain crimes. An offense like this is bail-able strange enough. We need to push the government so that such offenses are not bail-able. If you ask for my personal view there should be strict penalties for this kind of thing,” he said.

The degree of the burns however refers to the depth of the burns, it refers to how deep the extent of the burns was. When someone has second to third degree burns it indicates that the burns did not just involve the superficial skin but also the deeper layers of the skin.

Police said investigations on the incident was underway.

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