Dad pulls Bangladeshi ‘tree girl’ from hospi­tal

New Straits Times - - World -

DHAKA: A young girl di­ag­nosed with a rare con­di­tion known as “tree man syn­drome” has left hospi­tal, her fa­ther said yes­ter­day, adding that he feared she would never be cured.

Sur­geons op­er­ated on Sa­hana Khatun last month and re­moved some of the bark-like growths she has de­vel­oped from epi­der­modys­pla­sia ver­ru­ci­formis.

The 10-year-old is be­lieved to be the first fe­male to suf­fer from the con­di­tion, also known as “tree man syn­drome“, and was be­ing treated for free by Dhaka Med­i­cal Col­lege Hospi­tal.

Doc­tors hailed the ini­tial surgery as a suc­cess, but Sa­hana’s fa­ther Mo­ham­mad Shah­ja­han said it had only ag­gra­vated her con­di­tion and he wanted to spare her from fur­ther pro­ce­dures.

“They re­moved the bark-like growths and they grew again more thick and strong,” he said.

“I’m scared. They said my daugh­ter needed an­other eight to 10 op­er­a­tions. But what’s the guar­an­tee that she will be cured af­ter that?”

Sa­manta Lal Sen, head of the hospi­tal’s burns and plas­tic surgery unit, said he had wanted to keep the girl in hospi­tal for fur­ther surgery but her fa­ther, a poor labourer, re­fused.

“He left with his daugh­ter, com­plain­ing there was no progress. We asked them to stay a few more weeks for treat­ment,” Sen said.

Fewer than half a dozen peo­ple are known to suf­fer from the syn­drome, among them 27-year-old Bangladeshi rick­shaw-puller Abul Ba­jan­dar.

He has un­der­gone at least 21 sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures to re­move huge growths, each weigh­ing 5kg, and doc­tors be­lieve he may be the first suf­ferer to be cured.

Sa­hana’s fa­ther, a wid­ower, said he had also strug­gled fi­nan­cially dur­ing her treat­ment.

“I had to re­main at her side with­out go­ing to work. I didn’t have any money to feed her prop­erly.”

“She’s the only fam­ily I’ve got left and I don’t want to see her sit­ting in a hospi­tal bed.” AFP


Sa­hana Khatun (left), who has epi­der­modys­pla­sia ver­ru­ci­formis, and her fa­ther, Mo­ham­mad Shah­ja­han, at Dhaka Med­i­cal Col­lege and Hospi­tal re­cently.

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