In an amazing outburst, Indonesia’s Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, lambasted the US doctor currently treating the 35-year-old man, who has the rare affliction caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.
The Indonesian fisherman who developed tree-like growths on his hands and feet was being treated by specialist doctors who had taken some blood samples from him in order to try and find the right treatment for the disease.
Instead of being thankful to the doctors for their efforts, the Indonesian Health Minister criticised the doctors trying to treat the afflicted fisherman.
Mrs Supari, who has famously refused to share bird flu samples with international scientists, made her comments on Sunday after returning from a World Health Organisation (WHO) conference in Geneva.
“We are offended because the samples were taken from Dede without our permission,” she told reporters at the hospital where the man was being treated. “If they are taken abroad, they could become lucrative commodities.”
Her comments have now offended Dr Gaspari, an American dermatologist at the University of Maryland, who maintains that, while he took the samples without permission, his sole motivation was getting treatment for the man.
Known simply as Dede, the man, who lives in a village south of the capital Jakarta, has massive root-like warts growing from his arms and legs which have gone untreated for years.
“We did take samples, and the reason we did was to render a diagnosis. We did it for humanitarian reasons, to help the patient,” Dr Gaspari said, stressing his willingness to put in writing that the samples were not for commercial use.
Mrs Supari has steadfastly refused to share samples of the deadly H5N1 strain of the Flu virus.
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