A Bangladeshi father dubbed the “tree man” because of the bark-like warts that once covered his body will soon be able to leave hospital after groundbreaking treatment for one of the world’s rarest diseases.
Abul Bajandra, the 30-year-old Bangladeshi man more known in social media as the Tree Man, started on Sunday the long and difficult journey towards becoming normal. He underwent surgery in Dhaka to remove the warts on his right hand caused by the rare disease epidermodysplasia verricruciformis.
The former rickshaw driver is one of only four people in the world to be diagnosed with epidermodysplasia verruciformis, an extremely rare genetic condition dubbed “tree-man disease” that left him unable to hold his three-year-old daughter.
Surgeons from the Dhaka Medical College Hospital in Bangladesh removed an estimated five kilogrammes of the growth, which look like tree barks, from his right hand. Samanta Lal Sen, faculty director at the hospital, estimates that Bajandra would need at least 15 more surgeries over 12 months to totally remove all the warts – which has prevented him from living a normal life – from his body, reports The Telegraph.
The operation will give Bajandar the use of his fingers for the first time in around seven years. Medication that local doctors prescribed proved useless, but Bajandar’s fame grew after pictures of him surfaced online in early 2015. That’s when Dr. Samanta Lal Sen, president of the Society of Plastic Surgeons in Bangladesh, decided to take action. Unable to pay for the expansive surgery on his own, the government has taken on the costs.
Nine doctors took to Bajandar’s right hand with a laser as journalists and Bajandar’s family waited outside. Layer by layer, the doctors burned off the dead tissue that gives Bajandar’s skin its characteristic bark-like appearance. A guard stood outside the operating room, controlling the media frenzy.
“We have taken out bulk from his right hand,” Sen said after the operation. “Now it needs to be trimmed further after a few weeks. Then we have his left hand and the feet to operate, followed by skin grafting on all of them.”
It will take anywhere from six months to a year to complete all of the surgeries. Whether Bajandar’s life will return to normal, however, is uncertain since there is no known cure for the disease and doctors aren’t sure if — or how quickly — the growths will return. Regardless of the final outcome, though, Bajandar is happy to finally have his hand back.
“I feel content,” he said. “I feel lighter.”
Video Credit: Yoyo TV