Indian boy with head upside down: Desperate parents of a boy whose head hangs at a 180-degree angle have admitted they would rather he died than continue to suffer.
Mahendra Ahirwar, 12, from Madhya Pradesh in central India, suffers from a rare condition that makes his neck bend and his head hang from his body.
His weak backbone means he can’t stand or walk and is restricted to a sitting position. Mahendra can just about crawl but needs help to eat and go to the toilet.
Father Mukesh Ahirwar, 40, and mother Sumitra Ahirwar, 35, who both work as labourers when they can, say they have consulted more than 50 doctors across India but none could diagnose his condition.
‘I cannot see him suffer anymore,’ said Sumitra.
‘Watching his life is devastating. He cannot do anything by himself. He just sits in a corner of the room all day. It’s no life.’
‘I have to carry him like a baby everywhere but he is 12 years old, how will I carry him when he grows even older? If doctors cannot treat my son it is better that God takes him.’
Sumitra has a healthy 16 and a 10-year-old sons, and a 14-year-old daughter.
She did not visit a doctor when she was pregnant with Mahendra.
‘Our other children had all been born normally with no problems so we never thought to consult a doctor or have an ultrasound done with Mahendra.’
The couple only noticed their son’s head was starting to hang when he was about six months old.
‘At first we thought he was just a little weak and he’d be fine in time, but by his third birthday he wasn’t able to keep his head upright at all,’ his father explained.
Mukesh earns about Rs200 (£2) a day and has borrowed money from his friends and relatives to help find medical treatment for his son.
Two years ago he decided to stop taking Mahendra to see any doctors, adding:
‘I took him to all the hospitals that I could afford.’
‘Even India’s premier hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, but after spending two weeks there doctors failed to tell us if my son could be treated.’
‘With a broken heart we returned home and decided to raise him and try to give him as comfortable a life that we can.’ …