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True, Death by Force-Feeding Is Possible

Credit: Tribune Online 3 mins read

A Facebook User says force-feeding children can cause death.

Children can easily die from force-feeding if things go wrong while being force-fed. 

Full Text

A Facebook user shared a post that force-feeding children is dangerous and can cause more harm than good to the child being fed.  According to him, the act can be regarded as child abuse and can result in manslaughter or murder charges should a child die as a result. The text accompanying the picture below reads,

Image source: Facebook.com

“Dear Parent, you may be thinking you just want to help your child by doing this.

Sadly, it causes more harm than good. I know its a common practice in our part of the world but forced feeding is a bad habit that can land you in trouble for child abuse or manslaughter/murder in cases you end up losing the child”. 

According to the Facebook user, a child can die from aspiration if food from force-feeding seeps into the child’s airways and into the lungs.

Dubawa set out to find out if his claims are true.

Verification

Force-feeding has been discussed for years with videos available showing how children are force-fed. The process normally involves holding down the child and forcing the food down his or her throat.

Dr. Kasule Iddrisu Yakubu, a Medical Officer at the Bolga Regional Hospital, in a conversation with this researcher said that force-feeding is dangerous and can lead to death in children.

“Forceful feeding leads to aspiration which is a possible reason for a child to die… it’s mainly as a result of aspiration where the food goes into the breathing pathway, preventing the child from being able to breathe,” he said.

According to Dr Kasule, children have been rushed into the hospital as a result of the difficulty in breathing which was caused by forced feeding, presenting with difficulty in breathing and gasping for air.

“Treatment includes supplemental oxygen, steroids, or help from a breathing machine. Depending on the cause of the chronic aspiration, you may require surgery…,” he added,

Many instances have been recorded where children have lost their lives as a result of being force-fed, as rightly stated by the claimant.

According to a 2016 article published by the Sun titled, “FED TO DEATH Toddler ‘drowned’ in his food after being force-fed porridge and bread by his dad” a post mortem revealed that a three-year-old was found to have had his lungs filled with cereal and bread, causing his death.

“The child was allegedly regularly made to lie across his dad’s lap as his cheeks were pinched and the porridge-like mixture poured into his mouth…He had aspirated, inhaled, breathed in, a large amount of the porridge-like mix into his lungs so that he had, in effect, drowned in his food”, the article reads. 

A recent feature on healthwise.punchng.com also reports that force-feeding is a significant cause of death in Nigeria. According to the post, force-feeding which can lead to choking can cause death quickly once the obstruction is complete and the victim does not receive immediate help. This would lead to brain damage within minutes because there is a lack of oxygen supply to the brain. This consequently leads to sudden death due to cardiac problems.

A New York State Department of Health report states that at least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S., and more than 12,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food-choking injuries.

Very widely circulated stories of Gloria Dwomoh and Oluremi Oyindasola are proof of the dangers force-feeding can cause. The two ladies have served or are still serving their sentences due to death caused to children through force-feeding.

Some research also exists on the matter, with findings showing that 80.3% of their respondents were aware of the force-feeding practise with 46% of them being aware of the adverse effects. The study found that most of those who engaged in the practice (83.0%)were force-fed as children. One of the commonest methods used while force-feeding children was nose-pinching while showing difficulty in breathing and coughing were common signs seen in the children being force-fed.

Some have warned of the development of unhealthy eating habits or eating disorders as a result of force-feeding during childhood.

Conclusion

Force-feeding children can be very dangerous and cause death through choking or aspiration, suffocation or aspiration pneumonia. Children who do not die from this may develop some eating disorders because of the experience.

Roselena Ahiable is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Roselena has years of demonstrated work experience in advertising, sales and marketing, having worked with some of the leading brands in Ghana. She has completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, with specialisation in Public Relations and Advertising. She has also received advanced training in print and broadcast journalism. Roselena also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana. As a trained journalist with interest in research, Roselena provides the team insight in news and media trend analysis.

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