Recently, a five-year-old girl named Gabby Gingras was in the news. Gingras has an interesting predicament: she was born with a disorder that keeps her from feeling any physical sensations like pain. Her disorder is called Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy type-4, or HSAN type-4.
It's a tough life when you can't feel anything. Gingras wandered around for quite a while with a broken jaw once, and no one noticed until she developed a fever due to an infection the broken bone caused. Gingras can't control her body temperature in extreme weather, either. Since her body can't feel pain, she can't feel heat, and her sweat glands don't kick in when she starts to get hot.
She lost an eye due to excessive rubbing and scratching, and now wears a prosthesis—a fake eye. Her baby teeth had to be pulled out because she started to chew apart her tongue and the inside of her mouth. (She didn't stop because it didn't hurt.) Her other eye is pretty bad; she has a prescription of 20/200. Her parents are debating whether or not to put her through eye surgery. If all goes well, she would be able to see much better. If not, she could be totally blind.
Luckily for the rest of us, this hindering trait is extremely rare; only 100 cases have been documented.
--information in this article was found in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday, May 15th 2005.