Bangladesh’s ‘Tree man’ wants hands amputated to relieve pain


DHAKA | June 25, 2019 (AFP):

A Bangladeshi known as the "Tree Man" because of bark-like growths on his body said Monday he wanted his hands amputated to relieve him of unbearable pain.

Abul Bajandar has had 25 operations since 2016 to remove growths from his hands and feet caused by a rare syndrome.

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Doctors had believed they had beaten the disease but Bajandar fled a Dhaka clinic in May last year following a relapse.

The 28-year-old father of one was readmitted to hospital in January because the condition worsened, with some growths several inches long.

"I cannot bear the pain anymore. I can't sleep at night. I asked the doctors to cut off my hands so I can at least get some relief," he told AFP.

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His mother Amina Bibi supported the plea. "At least he will be free of pain. It's a hellish condition," she told AFP.

Bajander suffers from epidermodysplasia verruciformis, a rare genetic condition also known as "tree man syndrome".

Bajandar said he wanted to go abroad for better treatment, but he does not have the money to cover the expenses.

Samanta Lal Sen, the chief plastic surgeon at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, said a board of seven doctors will discuss Bajandar's condition on Tuesday.

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"He gave his personal opinion. But we will do whatever is the best solution for him," said Sen.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina promised free treatment for Bajandar after his plight made national and international headlines.

Bajander lived in the hospital's private wing for nearly two years during his first round of treatment.

Fewer than half a dozen people around the world are believed to have the syndrome.

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The hospital also treated a young Bangladeshi girl suffering from the condition in 2017.

Doctors declared her surgery a success, but her father later said the growths had returned in even greater numbers and the family halted the treatment and returned to their village.