Mr Mohammed Yoosuf’s Story

Mr Mohammed Yoosuf’s Story

Mr. Mohammed Yoosuf belongs to Paththamadai in Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. Paththamadai is famous throughout India for mat-weaving. His wife Seyad Ali Fathima helps her husband in mat-weaving. This couple have no children.

Yoosuf’s mother also was affected by leprosy, was treated at St Luke’s Leprosarium and is now cured.

When Mohammed Yoosuf was about 25 years old, some patches appeared on his body. At that time he was a cloth merchant in Trichy. He did not know that these were the symptoms of leprosy. So he did not bother to take treatment. After a few months the patches grew in size and number. So he went to Trichy Government Hospital. There the doctor examined him and gave leprosy treatment and advised him to continue the treatment for two years. But Yoosuf took the treatment only for five months and then discontinued the treatment without seeking any medical advice. Meanwhile he got married and settled in life with Seyad Ali Fathima.

As soon as he got married he went to Malaysia. There he worked in a textile shop. Since Yoosuf had not taken complete treatment, the disease relapsed. Painful red nodules cropped up all over the body with fever and painful thickened nerves. He was not able to tolerate the pain. He could not work properly. His facial appearance changed. On seeing his terrible typical leprosy appearance the textile shop-owner dismissed him from the job. Yoosuf returned to India.

After one year the leprosy bacilli destroyed the sensory nerves as well as the muscle nerves. So both the hands and feet lost sensation and the fingers of the hands got paralysed and bent. Therefore he could not feel touch, pain, heat or cold. The leprosy bacilli destroyed the nerves around the right ankle joint too. So the ankle joint swelled-up.

Yoosuf thought that this was due to the action of evil spirit. So he fasted for 15 days and went on pilgrimage to a famous mosque. But there was no improvement.

To protect his insensitive feet from accidental injuries he ought to have worn special footwear. But he did not do so. He wore the ordinary hard chappal.

Leprosy bacilli had destroyed the sweat glands in the feet. Due to loss of sweating, the feet became very dry. Fissures developed on the right foot. Since there was no pain he did not bother to take treatment but he continued to walk with the fissured foot. The fissure went deep and got infected. The pressure of the hard chappal also ulcerated the left foot.

Children from St Luke’s pictured with Jesu Raj, Mr Mohammed Yoosuf and his wife, Seyad Ali Fathima, displaying a beautiful wall hanging which Mr Yoosuf has hand woven especially for The Neem Tree Trust.

He sat on the floor for too long on crossed legs in the traditional Indian style. Due to this pressure, he developed an ulcer on the outer side of the right ankle joint too. This ulcer got infected badly. So he was not able to walk. He became bedridden and developed pressure sores and ulcer on the left buttock. An elderly man who belongs to his village and who had taken treatment as an out-patient in St.Luke’s Leprosarium for a skin disease and got cured saw Yoosuf ‘s pitiable condition and advised him to go to Peikulam. Thus Yoosuf landed in St.Luke’s Leprosarium.

On his arrival at Peikulam, a thorough medical check up was done. Yoosuf was found to be suffering from leprosy and was admitted as an in-patient.

Yoosuf had ulcer in the left gluteal region and both the feet. The ulcers were deep and involving the underlying tissues. Through a series of minor surgery the devitalized tissues were removed. Suitable antibiotics were given. The ulcers were healed. Then dislocation of the bones around the right ankle joint was corrected surgically, and special footwear was given.

Finally Yoosuf was discharged. At the time of discharge his deformities were corrected to nearly 75% of normal level.

He went home with renewed confidence to restart a new life. He wanted to expand his mat-production business but did’nt have the money.

St.Luke’s came to his rescue, by endorsing his application and standing security. Guaranteed of repayment by St.Luke’s, the bank lended Rs.10,000/- Yoosuf and his smart and hardworking wife expanded their business, eliminated middlemen who cut into their profit. Today the couple are successful mat-weavers and dealers.