Written by By Staff Writer
CNN’s Nicole Chavez
Hopes that a Brazilian man would return from a cancer treatment in Beijing with a living-wound personalized tattoo dashed when his fake arm was withdrawn from hospital.
The man had been trying to claim a special certificate that was granted to cancer patients during his month-long stay at the Tsinghua Medical University Hospital in Beijing, where a team of tattoo artists were simultaneously working on the fake arm’s multiple layers of skin.
“Without the fake arm we wouldn’t have been able to guarantee the safety of the patients,” said La Frieden Huerta, a doctor and one of the hospital’s key physicians who oversaw the surgery.
A copy of a tattoo on the fake fake arm.
The unnamed man was reportedly with a group of cancer patients at a mall in the Beijing area when a Chinese newspaper spoke to him and asked him about the tattoos he had on his right forearm. It appeared to be the same tattoo as the person who had been undergoing treatment at the university hospital for a living-wound tattoo therapy treatment.
“They (asked the man) if he was a survivor and he said yes,” said Huerta. “As we were finishing the tests he told us that he also had a fake arm.”
Huerta said that the fake limb is still under “safe storage” at the hospital. She said that before they began carrying out all their procedures, the man and his family were in constant touch with medical personnel to ensure the surgery could go ahead.
“We always check the patients on a regular basis (during the course of the trial) because we don’t know who would have access to them. We also check that the procedures are medically appropriate,” said Huerta.
A replica of the fake man’s real hand rests on a table in the hospital’s emergency room.
The operation took place on February 6 and involved carrying out a total of four operations at different times.
“After the first surgery he presented a fake leg too. It took a while to get rid of the infection caused by the fake leg,” said Huerta.
The recovery period for the man’s fake limb is similar to that of his real one, although the fake finger required longer treatment and has remained attached.