A CRITICALLY ill baby had her life saved by a doctor who sniffed her earwax.
Harini Rasalingam was rushed to hospital at just six days old following dramatic weight loss.
Damien McFadden – The Sun Harini’s mum Preminy believes her daughter ‘wouldn’t be here now’ if her condition wasn’t diagnosed on time
Medics could find nothing wrong so transferred her to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which runs a specialist unit for rare illnesses.
Paediatrician Helen Mundy swabbed her ear, and one sniff confirmed her suspicions — maple syrup urine disease.
The rare but deadly condition occurs when the body cannot break down protein in food. Signs include sweet-smelling pee, sweat and earwax.
It is normally picked up by the heel-prick blood test, but Harini got desperately ill before her results came back.
Harini’s mum, Preminy Kamalanthan, 30, said the community midwife advised her to go to hospital quickly when she saw the baby.
Preminy, of March, Cambridgeshire, recalled: “Once there, Harini rapidly deteriorated.
“The doctors and nurses were very concerned but nobody knew what was wrong.
“She looked like a little chicken, full of wires and tubes. I cried when I saw her.”
She was then transferred to Evelina, where Dr Mundy also noticed Harini was irritable and making unusual arching movements, other tell-tale signs.
Dr Mundy, a consultant in paediatric inherited metabolic medicine, said: “Maple syrup urine disease is a very serious condition and left untreated it can be fatal.
“Thankfully, we knew that sweet smelling ear wax is a sign of it.”
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Harini spent three weeks in intensive care, where a dialysis-like treatment lowered her amino acid levels.
Two years on, she is a happy, healthy toddler with a special low-protein diet which bans meat, fish and cheese.
Preminy, who runs a petrol station with her partner Rasalingam Kanakan, 41, said: “If she hadn’t been diagnosed in time, she wouldn’t be here now. We were very lucky.”
Damien McFadden – The Sun Little Harini could have died from the condition had it not been for Dr Mundy
Damien McFadden – The Sun Harini is now a happy and healthy two-year-old due to her special low-protein diet which bans meat, fish and cheese
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