TEL AVIV – Israeli doctors have cured a Palestinian man from Gaza who suffered from a rare syndrome known as “tree man disease” in which bark-like lesions covered his hands.
Mohammed Taluli, 42, has been living as a recluse for over a decade, unable to find treatment for the growths, which are caused by epidermodysplasia verruciformis.
According to Taluli, he could not find doctors who would operate on him in either the West Bank or Egypt.
“After years in which I sat at home embarrassed and could not work because of the limitation and feared cancer, the experts here at Hadassah were the only ones who gave me hope,” Taluli said, referring to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem where the operation took place.
“The treatment here is excellent and it is possible to say that everything is good today; the team [here] is very nice and helps a lot,” he added. “I really hope that my past life is already behind me to see my family, my wife and my six kids.”
Doctors at Hadassah chose to remove the skin entirely so as to prevent the lesions from reappearing.
“This is a very rare case that has no documentation whatsoever in the medical annals,” said Dr. Michael Chernofsky, an orthopedist operating on Taluli.
“Aside from the pain, the disease is very dangerous and could easily develop into cancer. [Taluli] eventually couldn’t move the hand. He had become withdrawn and fearful of any possible situation that could cause him to show the hand to other people.”
“He kept the hand covered all the time and life was very hard for him,” Chernofsky added.