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Do Van Dung, 15 year-old boy and 31.5 inch-tall, can only sleep standing

Posted Apr 06 2012 7:30am
A 15-year-old boy in the northern Vietnamese province of Ha Giang is only 80cm (31.5 inches) tall and weighs 11 kilos, about the size of a 3-year-old. Stranger still, he only sleeps standing up.

image 151 Do Van Dung, 15 year old boy and 31.5 inch tall, can only sleep standing

Do Van Dung (L) and his 10-year-old cousin.

With this size, he is probably the smallest 15-year-old child in Vietnam.

Born to a poor 5-member family, Do Van Dung has only been able to sleep standing up since he suffered from an abnormal pneumonia at the age of 2 and a half. Whenever he lies down, he develops terrible coughs and finds it difficult to breathe, Do Van Manh, the boy’s father, informed.

He only sleeps in short bouts. He will lean on others while standing and closes his eyes to get some sleep, the father explained. His worry now is what he should do to reduce the frequency of his son’s fevers and  help  him breathe more easily.

Manh added his son often sits down and hugs his bed whenever he’s in a high fever.

Over the past ten years, the family has been knocking on doors of many hospitals, seeking treatment for him but all doctors failed to correctly diagnose his condition.

A few years ago, Dung’s parents borrowed VND7  million  (US$337) from their relatives and neighbors and took their son to China for treatment. However, Chinese physicians told them there was nothing they could do.

His current medical record shows that Dung contracts a  chronic bronchitis  and an innate backbone deformity. Dr. Luong Cao Dong, head of pediatric ward of 103 Hospital in Hanoi, said Dung is diagnosed with severe pneumonia due to the overdose of antibiotics.

Good at school

In spite of the strange disease, Dung said he never wants to quit school.

When Dung was a 6th  grader  in Vinh Phuc junior high school in Bac Quang district, he was the best student in his class with remarkable academic performance.

“In recent times, Dung is in bad health conditions. He often coughs uncontrollably and breathes heavily. Everybody wants him to take a rest at home but he still insists on going to school,” Vi Phuong, a teacher, said.

He is now undergoing a long-term treatment at a hospital in Hanoi but wishes to return home to continue school. “I miss lessons so much,” he told Tuoi Tre.

According to his family, Dung was born normal but hair never grew. When he was 2 and a half, he contracted pneumonia and his body has not grown ever since.It is suspected Dung could have been infected with Agent Orange but no one in his family lived in areas affected by the herbicide.

His father is over 1.7m and his mother is over 1.6m. Even, his 3-year-old biological brother is taller and weighs more than him.

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