Guinness World Records Exploits Kids With Birth Defects

tiny fingersYou're a sick, twisted person. Yes, you are, but I'm not blaming you. It's human nature, after all. For some reason our species has always been fascinated by things like circus sideshows and the Elephant Man and tabloids with headlines on the front screaming things like "Girl Born With a Tail!" or "89-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth to Triplets!"

The term for it, I guess, is morbid curiosity. I understand that it's a natural way to feel, but I don't understand how people can exploit suffering kids to satisfy said curiosity. Like the 1-year-old boy in India who broke the Guinness World Record for being born with the most fingers and toes: 7 fingers on each hand and 10 toes on each foot.

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I'm sure the pain and scars from the complicated surgery little Akshat Saxena had to endure in order to be free of his 14 extra digits will serve as reminder enough of the way he was born. What, I wonder, is the purpose of keeping official records of birth defects? Not medical records, mind you, but Guinness World Records?

Making a big deal out of deformities and disorders is no better than pretending they don't exist. In either case, the person with the extra fingers or the bearded lady or whoever else ends up being treated as less-than-human. I guess it's one thing if that person is an adult who wants, for whatever reason, to use their rare physical condition as a means to make money or get famous. But kids aren't capable of making that kind of decision yet. Perhaps most disturbingly, it appears that Ashkat's parents were the ones who made the decision for him.

I hope Akshat recovers well and can steer clear of health problems, not to mention medical infamy, from here on out.

Do you think it's weird that there are World Records kept of birth defects?

 

Image via jadykins2003/Flickr

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