Two brothers suffering from a rare Behcet’s disease made an extreme choice – the elder brother killed himself, and the younger one went paralyzed from a neck injury after jumping from his apartment building.
The Korean College of Rheumatology (KCR) expressed grief and emphasized that Bechet’s disease was treatable with proper monitoring.
The brothers developed the disease more than 20 years ago, and the incident occurred on May 17. The elder brother, aged 51, was found dead in his room and the younger, 47, jumped off his apartment. The younger brother was kept alive but paralyzed from breaking two bones in the neck. The two men had lost vision due to the complication from Behcet’s disease.
Behcet's disease is a systemic disorder with frequent recurrent multiple oral ulcers, skin lesions, genital ulcers, and uveitis. It can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, blood vessels, nerves, and joints.
“We are saddened to hear about the incident of the brothers with Behcet's disease. We hope patients with rare diseases can manage their disease well and live a healthy life without despair,” KCR said in a statement Thursday. “Behcet’s disease can be overcome if patients manage it well.”
KCR went on to say that although the disease is a rare, intractable one, many cases involve mild symptoms. “Even if it stays active, we can maintain long-term stability with good management. It can be treatable,” it said.
According to KCR, 30 to 70 percent of patients with Behcet’s disease have uveitis, but the number goes down to 20 to 30 percent among Korean patients.
“In Korea, one of the many causes of blindness is Behcet’s disease, and young men are known to have a worse prognosis. However, early detection and treatment do not lead to loss of vision,” it said.