UK’s first double hand transplant deemed a success

This article was published on: 07/27/16

Amputation victims (particularly hand amputation victims) of the UK can be buoyed this week by the positive news that the UK’s first double hand transplant has been a success with the patient, Mr Chris King, feeling complete with the use of his new body parts.

Difficult procedure

The task of transforming Chris back by attaching the two hands is a very complicated procedure requiring bone to be fuse together as well as attaching veins and arteries to the arm. Doing this with one hand is painstaking enough but now Chris can applaud his surgeons as he is now able to enjoy the freedom of having a pair of hands once more.
The transplant is carried out in stages. First, the bone is attached with titanium plates, and then major tendons and muscles are reconnected. After this before eight very small blood vessels are connected for a viable blood supply. Major nerves are then reattached, and the large and small veins connected. Finally, following blood being transported safely from the previous steps, tendons and nerves are reconnected and the skin stitched closed.

The first hand transplants in the UK were given the go ahead earlier in the year when senior officials gave the green light to begin assessing patients and performing the operations from April. Early results are showing as positive, allowing patients to begin living their lives as they had previously including driving cars and playing with their children.

Positive future outlooks

Should the early patients all settle well into their life with new hands, it could open up the possibility of thousands of amputation injury victims to be given a new lease of life with a natural, working hand. Although we have prosthetic technologies currently, they are often mechanical and still feel separate from the body. The ability to add a natural hand using the body’s own arteries and tendons is as close to the original limb as a user could hope for.

Scott Rees & Co’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, was pleased to hear of the early success of the hand transplants. He weighed in on the situation in relation to serious injury victims; telling us “it is exciting to hear of the success of the early transplants. Having dealt with amputee victims in the past, losing the use of one or both hands has such a dramatic impact on a person’s life that it can cause extreme emotional strain from requiring either a prosthetic replacement or simply having other people take care of you. We would very much like to see more transplants given to serious injury victims as the value or retaining the use of their hands would be priceless. Prosthetics are currently doing a good job in a practical sense but a authentic, bone, tissue and tendon replacement is quite possibly the best alternative we have to keeping their original hands.”

Legal assistance

Scott Rees & Co’s serious injury department has dealt previously with claimants who have lost various limbs including hands. We also have experience of clients losing fingers, toes, arms (above and below elbow) and legs (above and below knee). The damage to a person’s life when losing a limb can affect the family of the person involved as well as serious affect their work and personal life for as long as they live.

We are often required to provide a team to work with the claimant during the claim to ensure they have all the necessary care from the start of the claim as far into the future as necessary. With limb use likely to affect jobs and leisure activities, it is only right to ensure there is as smooth a possible transition into new work (if possible) and ways to deal with the injury (transplants or prosthetics) to try and ensure as close to a normal life as before as possible.

If you, a family member or friend have had an accident involving a serious injury and require legal assistance, call one of our advisers on 0808 278 4672 or fill in our claim form here. We can also call back at a time convenient for you using our request a callback option. We work on a no win, no fee basis ensuring our clients never pay a penny for an unsuccessful claim; ensuring no risk for beginning a claim.

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