Why This Man's Fingers Are So Strange?


Richard Stott, is from Manchester, England  and was born with a rare condition known as Poland syndrome. Due to his condition, he grew up with a deformity in the fingers of his left hand, which did not develop completely. After 15 surgeries, one of which involved removing the second toe of each foot to graft them in hand, he is now able to use it better and claims to have greatly improved his quality of life. According to him, the deficiency even helped him to jumpstart his acting career when he won roles to work in plays such as Richard III and Beauty and the Beast.

The Poland Syndrome, is a disorder in which the affected individuals are born with underdeveloped or absent muscles on one side of the body. The abnormality can affect chest, shoulders, arms and hands, and the extent and severity vary among people. Commonly, the disorder causes malformation on the fingers, making them shorter and with membranes that end connecting to each other; similar to the case of Stott. This abnormality is known as simbraquidactilia and is very rare, affecting one in 20,000 newborns and is twice as common in men than in women, for reasons still unknown to science. 


The causes are not clear, althugh it seems, that the syndrome may be related to interruption of blood flow during the development of the fetus.Despite presenting disability in his left hand since birth, Stott says that the condition hardly affected his life. At school, even during physical education classes, he said he didn't have to face many problems. "I've never come to practice sports. When I had to play football I just played as a goalkeeper", he said in an interview.

The last job I did, I only got because of my condition

Despite having started his career as an extra, he says that the disease was a bonus. "The last job I did, I only got because of my condition. It was a version of Beauty and the Beast, and the director wanted one of the characters to have some physical deformity". However, since its operation for the exchange of fingers held in 2011, he is able to use almost normally his left hand and today is performing acting jobs with a company called Stage Management Center, always aiming for an opportunity of a major role to act at the London's National Theatre.