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Monday, June 27, 2022

Boy leaves doctors baffled after mystery condition stops him from eating chocolate or porridge for three years

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A YOUNG boy has left doctors scratching their heads as he has a mystery illness that has left him unable to eat chocolate or porridge.

Little Harley Duddin, from Sunderland, could not eat or drink anything for three years, and had to be fed by a tube into his stomach as anything he consumed went to his lungs

Harley had to be fed by a tube for three years


Harley had to be fed by a tube for three yearsCredit: NCJ Media
The four-year-old, pictured with his mum Kimberley, still cannot eat chocolate


The four-year-old, pictured with his mum Kimberley, still cannot eat chocolateCredit: NCJ Media

But bizarrely, the four-year-old still cannot eat chocolate or porridge – leaving medics baffled.

His parents discovered the issue when at a week old the youngster could only manage one or two gulps of milk before starting to cry, reports Chronicle Live.

After suffering a number of chest infections, the then three-month-old tot was rushed to hospital when he stopped breathing.

“They said he was dying – he was totally grey,” his mum Kimberley told the outlet.

“They said they didn’t know how he was still alive.”

Doctors took scans, which showed Harley has a silent aspiration, meaning food and drink was going to his lungs instead of his stomach.

The toddler was unable to eat or drink for three years – but medics could not discover the cause of the condition despite countless tests.

“It’s a mystery to doctors in Newcastle and Sunderland – they’ve never seen anything like it,” Kimberley added.

“He had two operations to see what’s wrong, he had brain scans to see if he was brain-damaged but nothing showed up.”

A scan last year revealed the youngster was no longer aspirating and could begin eating food normally – yet Harley is still unable to have chocolate or porridge, a development doctors can’t explain.

Kimberley said: “That’s when we started trialling foods and it’s been a success – he’s now eating most things and also enjoying liquids with a thickener in.

“He still can’t eat chocolate, sticky things like porridge and hard things like crisps, and he still has two machine feeds a day to keep his weight up and keep him hydrated.

“We’ve got to monitor him but he’s doing absolutely amazing.”

The mum-of-three said the situation was “heartbreaking” for the family, as Harley wanted to eat without the use of a tube like his sisters.


“It was hard for him – when he was little he used to get a plastic cup and pretend to drink, or he’d get a spoon and bowl and pretend to eat,” Kimberley added.

“It was heartbreaking for us

“We’ve got two daughters so one of us would sit with him in another room so he didn’t see them eating.

“Halloween and Easter were a big thing, because he couldn’t have sweets or chocolate, so he used to cry and scream – it was heartbreaking to see.”

The family set up a fundraiser to raise money to buy toys for children in a similar position to Harley after being forced to refuse a selection box at Christmas.

Kimberley said: “There was no alternative to it so we decided to start raising funds to give toys to children who were nil by mouth.

“All donations go towards presents for the hospital so all children will be included in getting gifts at special occasions.”

The youngster's mystery condition has baffled doctors


The youngster’s mystery condition has baffled doctorsCredit: NCJ Media
Harley, who lives with his family in Sunderland, can now eat most foods


Harley, who lives with his family in Sunderland, can now eat most foodsCredit: NCJ Media
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