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Fighting the curse of the face-eating tumour
June 23, 2008 9:28 PM   Subscribe

The Man Without a Face - "A Jehovah's Witness who for decades refused all surgery on his horrific facial disfigurement has been given hope by a British doctor and new medical technology." from the Telegraph.co.uk. (Possible NSFW or bad for the squeemish)
posted by blue_beetle (78 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, it's like some sort of theme today.
posted by Miko at 9:31 PM on June 23, 2008


Since the Weekly World News has stopped publishing, it's really good to see the Daily Telegraph making a pitch for that market segment.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:33 PM on June 23, 2008


IM transcript from several weeks ago...

friend: hey, empath are you near a tv?
empath: yeah..
friend: Hurry up and put it on the Discovery Channel
empath: why?
friend: just do it, you won't regret it.
...
*several minutes later*
...
empath: OMG WHY TEH FUCK JUST NO... WRONG..
friend: LOL
...
*several seconds later*
...
empath: Hey, unsuspecting friend #2, are you near a tv?
posted by empath at 9:34 PM on June 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hoping there isn't a hat trick. But what I found even stranger was the unintentional dichotomy of picture of the nubile young tennis star being just offset from Mr. Mestre's picture.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 PM on June 23, 2008


"his religious prohibition on blood transfusions that has so far hampered his search for treatment"

Alrighty then. Good luck with all that.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:36 PM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Its like some kind of parable on what not to do.
posted by nola at 9:37 PM on June 23, 2008


For those who believe "God will provide...." see what he got....
posted by aacheson at 9:39 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


It really sucks that this guy decided to let his condition worsen and drag his siblings down with him. Jehovah's Witnesses are insane and give a real mindfuck to anyone unlucky enough to be involved with them.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:40 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought you were talking about this guy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:46 PM on June 23, 2008


Metafilter: Faceless stuff.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:50 PM on June 23, 2008


Really hard to sympathize with the guy. It's one thing to make your own sacrifices for your religious beliefs, but to make your siblings share in the pain is something else.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:50 PM on June 23, 2008


"his religious prohibition on blood transfusions that has so far hampered his search for treatment"

Alrighty then. Good luck with all that.


We would be folding space by now if is wasn't for religion.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:51 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wasn't going to click the link, but then I did. I feel so bad for that guy. He was brainwashed into believing he can not get help for his condition. Reminds me of the people that prayed for their daughter instead of taking her to the hospital. Fuck organized religion.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:57 PM on June 23, 2008


We would be folding space by now if is wasn't for religion.

Nah. We'd just have a massive secular ethical "TECHNOLOGY IS BAD" movement in its place, instead of the tiny one today.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:58 PM on June 23, 2008


So some people claim that God thinks:

You are supposed to be too dumb to figure that putting a rubber on the willy will stop pregnancy.
You are supposed to be too dumb to figure that you can refill your blood with other blood.
etc.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:05 PM on June 23, 2008


I'm as religious as dozens of you bastards combined and I wouldn't think twice to accept treatment that would prevent something thousands of times less severe than this. Don't be lumping all religions in the same basket. We can fold space and practice religion. It's ok.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 PM on June 23, 2008 [21 favorites]


I'm as religious as dozens of you bastards combined and I wouldn't think twice to accept treatment that would prevent something thousands of times less severe than this. Don't be lumping all religions in the same basket. We can fold space and practice religion. It's ok.

I understand that. It is the extremes on either end that end up fucking everything up. I don't think there is a way to clip the ends without just dispensing of it all together. And if you can't do that it will just continue to cause suffering and strife.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:12 PM on June 23, 2008


Ok, go ahead and get busy with that then.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:15 PM on June 23, 2008


Aren't religious prohibitions like this somewhat responsible for the advancement of medical science? Or is that just an oft repeated lie?
posted by ODiV at 10:17 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is the extremes on either end that end up fucking everything up.

How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?
posted by gottabefunky at 10:18 PM on June 23, 2008


It is the extremes on either end that end up fucking everything up.

How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?


It's not the lethality of it that I am concerned with. It is the retardation of rational forward thinking.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:22 PM on June 23, 2008


How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?

*Cough*


But anyways, this is a tired old argument and calling for the end of religion on the internet is almost like urinating in front of a full power industrial fan.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 PM on June 23, 2008 [9 favorites]


How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?

Umm...
posted by jacalata at 10:26 PM on June 23, 2008


Hey, that cloud kind of looks like a brain. Just like the cover of Tago Mago. I was born and I was dead, too, Damo. I was born and I was dead too.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:27 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?

Umm...


Science created it. A Baptist dropped it.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:31 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


How is the extreme science-y end of things anywhere CLOSE to as lethal as the extreme religious-y end?

That's not how it works, science just gives people the tools to murder lots of each other. Religion just provides the motivation, although economic theories and racial animosity have done a good recently as well.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly sure that there has never been a 'religious' war that wasn't primarily motivated by economics, rather than questions of faith.
posted by empath at 10:35 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was looking at the pictures, and I'm not a doctor, but I think there's something wrong with that guy's face.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:37 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Umm...

People killed by atomic bombs < People killed by religious fanatics
posted by gottabefunky at 10:37 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


When I saw that blue_beetle posted this I was hoping it was all about Vic Sage.
posted by vrakatar at 10:40 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


*Cough*
Umm...


Oh, horseshit. Nobody ever dropped a bomb on anyone in order to merely prove their secular faith in the bomb's design principles.

On the other hand, the opposite happens all the time -- backward groups of people urging their fellows to figuratively drop bombs on themselves in order to prove their pet theories of How It All Works.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:42 PM on June 23, 2008


I'm fairly sure that there has never been a 'religious' war that wasn't primarily motivated by economics, rather than questions of faith.

War can be very profitable to a faith organization.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 PM on June 23, 2008


Geez, now we're playing with two false dichotomies. How about the total tonnage of conventional ordnance dropped in the current Iraq war alone? Can we go back to gawking at the freak's face now?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was born and I was dead, too, Damo. I was born and I was dead too.

What have you got in that paper bag? Is it a - oh, holy shit!
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:48 PM on June 23, 2008


War can be very profitable to a faith organization.

That is true. I wouldn't be surprised it shortly new churches aren't called tax-free franchises. Would kick the shit out of owning a Subway.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:48 PM on June 23, 2008


Aren't religious prohibitions like this somewhat responsible for the advancement of medical science? Or is that just an oft repeated lie?

It's not quite medical science, but I believe bacon was invented to taunt Jews & Muslims over their religious prohibitions.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:51 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also:

WTF, Jose? God gives you access to doctors and technology, and this is what you do?
It was flooding in Ohio. As the flood waters were rising, a man was on the porch of his house and another man in a row boat came by. The man in the row boat told the man on the porch to get in and he'd save him. The man on the porch said, no, he had faith in God and would wait for God to save him.
The flood waters kept rising and the man had to go to the second floor of his house. As he was looking at the swirling waters through a bedroom window, a man in a motor boat came by and told the man in the house to get in because he had come to rescue him. The man in the house said no thank you. He had perfect faith in God and would wait for God to save him.

The flood waters kept rising. Pretty soon they were up to the man's roof and he got out on the roof. A helicopter came by, lowered a ladder and the pilot shouted down in the man in the house to climb up the ladder because the helicopeter had come to rescue him. The man in the house wouldn't get in. He told the pilot that he had faith in God and would wait for God to rescue him.

The flood waters kept rising and the man in the house drowned. When he got to heaven, he asked God where he went wrong. He told God that he had perfect faith in God, but God had let him drown.

"What more do you want from me?" asked God. "I sent you two boats and a helicopter."
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 PM on June 23, 2008 [18 favorites]


"What more do you want from me?" asked God. "I sent you two boats and a helicopter."

For you to not have destroyed everything I have worked for in my life in the first place.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:58 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ok, now you're just being tiresome.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 PM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wouldn't a straw man like that float?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:14 PM on June 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


FFS, I think religion is stupid, but I also think that gottabefunky's comment was stupid. End derail.
posted by jacalata at 11:22 PM on June 23, 2008


Alright, I have an actual serious question: could a Jehovah's Witness donate their own blood for an upcoming transfusion? Is it all transfusions that disallowed, or just those using others' blood?
posted by loiseau at 11:22 PM on June 23, 2008


brothercaine you bastard

you bastard
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:34 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


As per this article on the 'pedia, autologous (a person storing blood for themselves) blood transfusions seem to be more or less forbidden with some slight exception called "current therapy." Details on what this means seem to be unavailable on the Internet in back issues of The Watchtower.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:43 PM on June 23, 2008


Alright, I have an actual serious question: could a Jehovah's Witness donate their own blood for an upcoming transfusion? Is it all transfusions that disallowed, or just those using others' blood?

Wikipedia sez "no." What you're talking about is called an autologous transfusion, and it's on the forbidden list in that article.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:46 PM on June 23, 2008


Just to muddy the waters a little bit more:
"More than half of blood transfusions may do more harm than good, with some patients facing a six-fold greater risk of dying following surgery because of transfusions"* (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/apr/24/medicalresearch.health)

*For certain types of surgery. Of course if you are about to die on the operating table because too much of your blood is on the floor then a blood transfusion will undoubtedly save your life.


'Eyes without a face....'
posted by JustAsItSounds at 11:46 PM on June 23, 2008


He has agreed in principle to Dr Hutchison's proposal to return to London for an exploratory operation on one of his smaller lesions.

Where's the small one?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:57 PM on June 23, 2008


I'm fairly sure that there has never been a 'religious' war that wasn't primarily motivated by economics, rather than questions of faith.

How about the current jihad of militant Islamic fundamentalism vs. the West? I'm pretty sure that's motivated by questions of faith rather than economics. Osama's definitely not short of a bob or two.

Any conflict of this nature is going to result in economic advantage for the winners, but I'm not sure that that is the primary motivation. Loyalty to one's tribe and suspicion of the 'other' has always seemed to me to be a more compelling motive in religious wars than anything else, but these things are always multicausal, with a range of motives and incentives in play, so it's never just 'either/or'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:57 PM on June 23, 2008


The story, of course, was from June, 2007. Any idea what has happened since then? Anything?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:16 AM on June 24, 2008


My grandma has a pig valve in her heart. A pig valve. To be able to live healthily is a blessing so great that frankly I can't imagine any religious obligations that could possible outrank it. I still don't eat pork.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:07 AM on June 24, 2008


Well just think about how the pig feels.
posted by loiseau at 1:27 AM on June 24, 2008



'Eyes without a face....'


Yeah, that's right.
posted by Wolof at 1:51 AM on June 24, 2008


Well, that's hardcore dedication to a principle, all right. I just wish he could have picked a worthwhile principle.
posted by orange swan at 5:00 AM on June 24, 2008


Alright, I have an actual serious question: could a Jehovah's Witness donate their own blood for an upcoming transfusion? Is it all transfusions that disallowed, or just those using others' blood?

I have to deal with this issue all the time, as there is a large contingent of Jehovah's Witness where I practice. There is actually a fair amount of diversity in what they will and will not accept. There is pretty much universal rejection of red cell and whole blood transfusion. As you get to other components (plasma, platelets) the patients tend to follow their own conscience or their individual pastor's recommendations. When it come to highly processed blood products (clotting factors, albumin) there is a fair amount of acceptance. Finally, although autologous blood is generally refused many Witnesses will consent to intraoperative blood salavage provided the blood is maintained in a continuous circuit with the patient so that it never "really" leaves the patient. More info here.

Aren't religious prohibitions like this somewhat responsible for the advancement of medical science?

Not really; there are plenty of good, non-religious, reasons to conserve blood/minimize transfusions so blood-saving surgical techniques would have been invented anyway.
posted by TedW at 5:36 AM on June 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


'Eyes without a face'

Copycat.
posted by cashman at 5:49 AM on June 24, 2008


Addendum- if any one event advanced the development of bloodless medicine more than anything else it would have to be the AIDS epidemic.
posted by TedW at 5:57 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Wow, it's like some sort of theme today.

Girl without a face.

> Yeah, that's right.

My wife and I went to see Eyes Without A Face on our first proper date (it was her idea).
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:26 AM on June 24, 2008


Addendum- if any one event advanced the development of bloodless medicine more than anything else it would have to be the AIDS epidemic.

I've been laboring under the impression that a lot of it arose out of the Vietnam war, and casualties sustained due to a lack of blood availability out in the field, particularly rare blood types.
posted by Dreama at 6:42 AM on June 24, 2008


You make a good point, dreama; and prior to Vietnam, the Korean War and WWII advanced not just transfusion medicine but trauma care in general.
posted by TedW at 6:45 AM on June 24, 2008


His poor sister. I don't blame her for declaring that she's given up. I can't imagine how it would feel for things to get that bad that you do so.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:05 AM on June 24, 2008


Oh, horseshit. Nobody ever dropped a bomb on anyone in order to merely prove their secular faith in the bomb's design principles.

*cough* Nagasaki *cough*
posted by availablelight at 7:45 AM on June 24, 2008


Seems to me that a bucket of leaches could have given this man a lot of relief. Maybe leaches would be helpful pre-surgery, even.
posted by Goofyy at 7:54 AM on June 24, 2008


Back to the actual article...it's clear that his declared religion (which he doesn't actively practice outside of refusing medical care, it seems) is only one factor in a complex situation:

"Jose's own complicated attitude to his condition has not helped.

Unsuccessful and unhappy visits to Germany and Spain in search of medical care in his youth have left him with a distrust of doctors. This, combined with his loyalty to his [dead] mother's faith, and concerns about life without the mask to which he has become accustomed, appear to have instilled Jose with a sullen fatalism about his condition.

His inertia has infuriated his close family, who do not share Jose's religious beliefs. Jose himself, although a Jehovah's Witness, does not attend any church. "

In terms of emotional secondary gains, the tumors also kept him in a close (then dependent) relationship with his mother at a time when other boys/men his age were growing away from home; and now it insures caretaking (however resented) on the part of his siblings.

A much more interesting story than just LOLJEHOVAHS, and I'd love to hear an update as well.
posted by availablelight at 7:58 AM on June 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Really? This one guy making a personal decision about his own medical treatment for religious reasons immediately started a discussion of Osama bin Ladin and Hiroshima? Really?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Post without a click for me, after that cat thing yesterday. Ugh.
posted by autodidact at 8:12 AM on June 24, 2008


*cough* Nagasaki *cough*

Again, horseshit, for the same reasons stated previously.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:51 AM on June 24, 2008


God wants you to suffer.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:00 AM on June 24, 2008


Be careful when you're in a medical library, folks. Casual browsing can lead you to pictures that make this guy's problem look like average teenage acne.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:51 AM on June 24, 2008


aside from the outright ban on blood, there are all sorts of options that were relayed above to JWs. The thing about JWs is that most of the rules are left to the interpretation of your own conscience. You are taught to judge for yourself based on the principles. So, I doubt there are any in his branch telling him that he cannot seek medical treatment (because, much like that family who prayed for their daughter's health rather than seek medical assistance, that would be ridiculous), rather, if they were telling him anything (which I doubt, since he doesnt attend), it would be mostly for moral support, support of his decisions and directions to draw inspiration from the bible.

Very few JWs are evil, socially blind, sheep.
posted by subaruwrx at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unable to find work or a girlfriend

These people are so flush with the alphabet they throw vowels and consonants away like trash!
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:32 PM on June 24, 2008


Not to take away from the horrific nature of this story but here's another link on that page of a story about the "man who grew tree roots".
posted by homeless Visigoth at 2:24 PM on June 24, 2008


Here is an April 2008 Follow Up to the story of Dede, the "tree man."

I can't find any information about Mr. Mestre's current condition.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:34 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


God obviously wants you to have a fucked-up face else He would have miracled it back to normal. Who are you to question God's will?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:48 PM on June 24, 2008


I don't want to start any blasphemous rumour, but I think that God's got a sick sense of humour.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:11 PM on June 24, 2008



Again, horseshit, for the same reasons stated previously.


True. Millions of people have actually been killed because of the game theory arising from nuclear strategy, not the nukes themselves.
posted by mobunited at 3:48 PM on June 24, 2008


Millions of people have actually been killed because of the game theory arising from nuclear strategy...

Are you talking about STALKER: Shadow Over Chernobyl? When's that coming out on the 360 anyway?
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2008


link for the curious (not about this poor fellow, about JW blood policy):

AJWRB
posted by jockc at 5:13 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


So it sounds like this guy's problem (other than the facial tumors) is not that he's a JW, it's that he's nuts. Misses his mommy and feels safer behind the tumours. Perfectly cromulent reasons to let a lumpy tumour swallow your face whole... if you're batshitinsane.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on June 24, 2008


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