DHAKA – Abul Bajandar, better known as “tree man” for large bark-like warts on his body, remained in hospital on Wednesday under the watch of his doctors, who said he might need fresh surgeries in coming days.
Bajandar, 27, has been living in a twin-bed room in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital for the last two years and has undergone 19 surgeries already to remove the warts on his body that were the result of a rare genetic disorder that is incurable.
“He could need one or two operations more, but we are not going to release him soon. We are planning to give him adequate work in our new unit so we can keep him here and monitor his condition,” Dr. Samanta Lal Sen from the hospital’s Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit told EFE.
Bajandar’s wife and their daughter – who has not been to school for two years as there are no public schools around and the family cannot afford the fees of a private school – lives in the room with him, occupying the second bed.
According to doctors at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Bajandar suffers from epidermodysplasia verruciformis, a disease that is not contagious but incurable and surgeries only provide temporary relief.
“We carried out an operation on Bajandar last week. We had removed all the warts earlier, but later we discovered new warts had developed,” he added.
Bajandar’s dream of resuming normal life after the first spate of surgeries have now turned into a nightmare as the warts keep growing back.
“I was feeling well after what I believed was my last operation six months ago. At least I could eat by myself using a spoon,” Bajandar told EFE from his hospital bed.
“But now I again feel pain. I cannot bend my fingers so I need the help of my wife or my mother, who visits sometimes, to eat. I don’t know if I will ever be cured and will return home or to work,” he rued.
The prolonged treatment and the decision by the doctors to keep him in the hospital is also taking an emotional toll on Bajandar’s family.
“We don’t have to pay for anything here, but still we are suffering from the long stay,” Bajandar’s wife Halima Akter said.
Akter spends her time looking after her husband and watching television in the hospital.
She and her daughter eat their meals in the hospital’s canteen.
The doctors are unsure of how the disease will progress; however, Sen is hopeful that the warts could stop growing someday considering the new warts developed after a significant gap.
“It depends on a genetic factor and there is always a possibility of it reappearing, so we have not discharged him. We believe he needs to be monitored,” Sen said.
Bajandar, however, is not the only person in Bangladesh who suffers from this rare disorder.
Two years ago, two men and a minor were allegedly suffering from the “tree man” disease, and were admitted to a clinic in northern Bangladesh.
In 2017, a 10-year-old girl, too, was diagnosed with the same disorder.