Dede Koswara

The unfortunate life of Dede Koswara – Half man half tree

Can you imagine TREE TRUNKS coming out of the body of a living human being? This is not a movie scene, this actually happened with DEDE KOSWARA, an Indonesian carpenter. The Tree trunks started coming out of different parts of his body and ruined his entire life!

Normal childhood of Dede Koswara

Dede Koswara, born in 1971, was healthy from birth up to his early childhood. At the age of ten, he started to develop warts resembling tree bark around his injured knee, which then spread onto his limbs and face. He was unable to afford treatment for the disease. So, he initially tried to remove one of the larger warts, but it bled profusely and eventually regrew.

Dede Koswara’s marriage and children

While working as a carpenter, he tried his best to live a normal life. He married at the age of 18 and had two children. But, his uncontrollable growth of warts limited his movements and made him dependent on others for daily routines. Eventually, with claw-like hands, he couldn’t work anymore.

At one point, he sprouted 3 feet long yellow-brown branches & became like a half-plant. It caused him severe pain and spread a bad odor. This condition ultimately led to his divorce, and separation from his children.

Facing criticism and worsening monetary condition

People criticized him for his whole life for being a cursed person. They perhaps believed that he must have done something bad to have such an unknown disease. He had to start living again with his parents. Their monetary condition also worsened and he started begging in the streets. Koswara faced gawking villagers’ eyes for his whole life. He and his parents could never understand why this happened to their family!

Dede Koswara
Image Credit: Find a grave memorial

In 1996, the local health officials noticed his condition and arranged his first surgery. He remained hospitalized for 16 months and passed through painful procedures. But, when his warts started to grow up again, doctors gave up and released him to his village. Here his condition worsened, and now warts spread to his face. But perhaps, it led to a breakthrough.

Dede Koswara joined a traveling freak show

One day while begging in the streets, a carnival owner saw his condition and offered him to work on his freak show. His circus-type show had many other such people. He joined him and started sitting in the show with a man having fish scales and a woman whose body was covered with bumps.

This gave him some fame! and his pics started circulating. In November 2007, a video about Dede Koswara appeared on the Internet. His story was shared on the Discovery Channel and TLC series My Shocking Stories (Extraordinary People) in the episode “Half Man Half Tree”. In August 2008, an episode of ABC’s Medical Mysteries, titled “Tree Man”, was released, which was dedicated to Koswara’s story.

Dede Koswara’s treatment by a U.S. dermatologist

These stories on the internet started attracting the attention of medical experts. Anthony Gaspari, chairman of the department of dermatology at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, traveled here to examine Koswara.

Gaspari, working with local doctors, designed a treatment program for him. The surgeons used an electric saw to cut 13 pounds of warts and decaying matter. He underwent nine operations and had 95% of warts, about 6 kg (13 lb), surgically removed. During this time, his health had significantly improved so much that he regained the use of his hands and feet. Once again able to hold a pen, he began playing Sudoku.

He started thinking about returning to work. However, warts started to regrow and doctors told him that two surgeries a year were necessary to keep the infections down. Under Gaspari’s direction, doctors used chemotherapy to bring the virus under control, but it had to be stopped as Koswara’s liver began to fail.

The Legal Battle

At this juncture, a medical battle erupted between the doctors of 2 countries treating Koswara. Indonesian health officials suspected Gaspari of taking blood and tissue samples abroad without authorization to use them for commercial purposes. After this dispute, Gaspari left the medical team. Then the Indonesian doctors tried a second round of surgeries on their own.

But all this led to a setback for Koswara. After months in remission, his disease has begun a counter-assault, warts returning to cover his body at a faster rate than ever before.

How did Dede Koswara die?

Finally, Dede Koswara’s story had a tragic end. He died on 30 January 2016, aged 44, at the Hasan Sadikin Hospital, Bandung, Indonesia, from a series of health problems relating to his condition.

When an insect decided the fate of someone great!

Can you live your life on your terms or is it pure destiny?

After reading all this, what do you think about his life? He also must be willing to live his life on his terms and fulfill his dreams. He tried his best, what was his fault? Some people may be thinking that perhaps he cut some special tree or did some harm to the plant world. But, is there anything unusual in it, who doesn’t do it? Others also cut plants, trees, or tree branches but, nothing happens to them. We don’t feel anything wrong with it and a lot of people do it as a profession (like Dede Koswara).

Even if he harmed some rare species then also how could he know that something so terrible may happen? So, whether it was a curse-type thing or an infection, he tried his best but destiny turned around his life in an unexpected manner.

Painful life and painful death!

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