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Four ‘half men, half trees’ exist

Dammam, Saudi Arabia — Afflicted with a unique skin disease, four men turned into a half man and a half tree.

Ion Toader, a Romanian; Dede Koswara, an Indonesian; and two others are suffering from a rare skin disorder called epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

Toader was found by dermatologist Carmen Madeleine Curea to have the disease in March 2007. Koswara, on the other hand, was declared with a similar disease in November 2007. Two years after, another Indonesian, from the same region as Koswara, and a Dutch, of Indonesian origins, were reported to have the same disease.

Their stories were posted in That of Koswara first appeared in the Discovery Channel and TLC Series, “My Shocking Story,” in the episode, “Half Man, Half Tree” and in the ABC’s Medical History episode, “Tree Man.”

In late August of 2008, Koswara underwent surgical operations, with three-fold purposes: (1) to remove the thick carpet of warts and massive horns on his hand; (2) to remove the smaller warts on his head, torso, and feet; (3) to cover the hands with grafted skin. At least six kilograms of warts was removed from Kowara’s body. As his warts have kept on returning every after the surgery, he needs a lifetime twice-a-year surgery.

A similar treatment, which was given to another Indonesian, has thus far worked better. The Dutch, on the other hand, was treated with radiation therapy, which turned out successful, but ended with a cancer.

According to Wikipedia, epidermodysplasia verruciformis is first documented by doctors Felix Lewandowsky and Wilhelm Lutz so that it is otherwise known as Lewandowsky-Luts or Lutz-Lewandowsky epidermodysplasia verruciformis

A rare skin disease, which is genetically inherited, it is associated with a malignant tumor in the skin with unidentified causations and results from viruses called human papillomaviruses (HPVs). If left untreated (which is expected to be the case, as it is known to have no cure as of this writing), it will result in a change of a surface color of the skin or solid elevation of the skin, especially on the hands and feet, to varied sizes ranging from 5 mm to 10mm in diameter at its widest. (Sources: and Wikipedia)


About Danilo Tao-tuan Naraja

I am an expatriate based in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and work in the Admin and HR Division of an oil and gas company. I am an HR practitioner for more than a decade. I used to work for a Cebu-based local newspaper. I love to write human interest stories and started writing when I was still in high school.


3 thoughts on “Four ‘half men, half trees’ exist

  1. Thanks for the follow! Very interesting story since I have never heard of this disease before.


    Posted by Kaz Atman | April 7, 2013, 10:31 pm
  2. Thank you for liking my posts Danilo. I find this article particularly interesting because I used to live in Saudi Arabia years ago not far from Dammam. I knew things were bad there as a child but not to this point. Thank you for posting this.


    Posted by sbstardust3 | March 27, 2013, 1:02 pm
  3. Hello, Danilo. I welcome you to the family. If you’d like, please find my Friends page and tell me and my readers a little about yourself. Remember to include your blog URL, so we can come find you. I am quite astounded by your accomplishments, and I know you will bring another level of insight with any comments you make. I’m glad you’ve come aboard. Welcome!


    Posted by judithatwood | March 21, 2012, 6:42 pm

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