Medicine: Entranced Skin

When he was born, in London, even his mother thought that he seemed to have a thick skin. As the baby grew, his skin darkened and hardened to a black, rough casing over his whole body except the chest, neck and face. It was covered with close-set black bumps; between them the skin was as hard as a fingernail, and if it was bent it cracked and oozed bloodstained serum. Someone cruelly dubbed him "the elephant boy." Doctors said he had been born with ichthyosis (fish-scale disease). Nobody knew its cause or cure.


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