Unidentified skin condition causes Vietnamese man to lose 40 kilos

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A 42-year-old man in the southern province of Binh Phuoc has lost 40 kilograms, much of it shed skin, due to a strange condition that has also turned his face dark brown.

Doctors have been unable to diagnose the problem.

Relatives of Van Viet Dien, 42, told Tuoi Tre in a Friday report the man had pain in his ankle in July last year. He visited a private clinic and was given an injection of painkillers and medicine.

Ung Thi Ngoc Hanh, his 39-year-old wife, said the pain got worse and he started to shed skin, while his voice, vision, movement, and hearing deteriorated.

Dien, who weighed more than 70 kilograms last year, is now 30 kilograms.

Doctor Le Thanh Hung, who ran the clinic, denied giving Dien any shot.

Hung, who also works at the Binh Phuoc General Hospital, said he prescribed some anti-fever tablets and tonic.


Van Viet Dien, 42, (right), before his skin condition started to develop in July 2011. He has lost 40 kilograms.

But the condition did not improve in four days, so he advised the family to take Dien to a better hospital, the doctor told Tuoi Tre.

The family said they received various answers from doctors at leading hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, including the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and Cho Ray, where he stayed for nearly two months.

They have spent more than VND300 million (US$14,400) and no treatments have helped.

A couple of doctors said he was allergic to some kind of medicine, some said he had septicemia or a blood infection, and others blamed pus in his lung, or Steven Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening skin condition.

Dien is being taken care at home as the family is confused and does not want to spend more money on uncertainties.

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