Olivia Farnsworth: The Bionic Girl
Olivia Farnsworth’s case is one of the most surprising in history. She’s a British girl who doesn’t experience pain, hunger, or the need sleep. These are three of our greatest human weaknesses and limitations. Therefore, what happens in the mind of someone who doesn’t even register them? Furthermore, how can a person survive who lacks any notion of danger?
Olivia Farnsworth is currently ten years old. Everything points to the fact that her case is the only one of its kind in the world. At least, it’s the only one we know about. In fact, when her condition became public, much of the press labeled her ‘the bionic girl’.
“What makes his world so hard to see clearly is not its strangeness but its usualness. Familiarity can blind you too.”
However, Olivia and her family haven’t paid much attention to this nickname, nor to the insistence of the media as portraying her as a rarity. Instead, they’ve taken advantage of her popularity to start a campaign to raise funds for her case to be scientifically investigated. This, eventually, will be conducted by the Groningen University Medical Center (Netherlands).
Olivia Farnsworth and her strange characteristics
A striking fact
These characteristics didn’t arouse any suspicion in her parents. They thought it was just due to her temperament. However, when she started school, something happened that was completely out of the ordinary. Olivia fell and got a deep wound on her lip. She was bleeding profusely, but reacted as if nothing had happened. When they took her to the hospital, she had to undergo minor surgery. Nevertheless, she showed no sign of pain. This obviously attracted the attention of the doctor. In fact, he was the first person to alert the family to her rare condition. Even so, the parents didn’t realize the extent of her strange disorder.
However, they were soon to find out when Olivia was run over by a car. It dragged her for more than 60 feet, but she got up as if nothing had happened. Later, the doctors explained that nothing had, indeed, happened to her. This wasn’t because she was immune to harm, but because she’d kept her body so relaxed during the accident that she had no fractures.
The doctors discovered that Olivia Farnsworth not only lacked sensations of pain, but also had no notion of danger. Therefore, she hadn’t even tried to avoid the car.
The scientific explanations
There are recorded cases of people who don’t feel pain, or who have less appetite than normal, or hardly need any sleep. However, the case of Olivia Farnsworth is the only one in which all these characteristics are present simultaneously. Doctors have explained that it’s a rare genetic condition caused by the absence of chromosome 6.
In reality, it’s not that this chromosome is completely absent, but that it’s so significantly altered that, basically, it’s unusable. This deficiency has led to Olivia Farnsworth having to take sleeping pills to sleep.
That’s the sad tragedy of this little girl. Because the fact that she doesn’t feel sleepy doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need to sleep. Nor does the fact that she doesn’t feel hungry mean she doesn’t need to eat. Likewise, her absence of pain doesn’t equal the absence of damage to her body. Indeed, she’s someone who needs a great deal of care, since she doesn’t possess the internal signals to alert her to what she needs in order to carry on living.It might interest you...
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Serrano, J. (1983). Taxonomía, cromosomas y biogeografía de. Harpalus ebeninus, 159-170.