‘Breakthrough’

Woman becomes 1st in U.K. to receive double hand transplant

Tania Jackson. (Twitter)

A 42-year-old former beauty therapist has become the first woman in the U.K. to ever successfully receive a double hand transplant. Tania Jackson, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the colon, suffered complications as a result of the disease in 2015 and contracted sepsis. Her blood became infected, turning her limbs black and necessitating surgery that cost her both hands and three quarters of her left arm in order to save her life. But after a revolutionary 15-hour operation, the mother of three has a new arm, two new hands — and a new lease on life.

“I have all sort of emotions. It was such a major breakthrough [to have the surgery]. I can’t wait to get my life back again and be independent,” said Jackson. “It is just the normal things I am looking forward to most, being able to brush my daughters’ hair and hold their hands. I am so excited for the future.”

Jackson learned about the pioneering procedure while in intensive care following the amputation of her arm and hands after she watched a TV program about Corinne Hutton — the first woman to be put on a hand-transplant register. Jackson soon sought out the nearby Leeds General Infirmary, the only hospital in the U.K. to offer hand transplants, and got herself on the waiting list in 2016. According to consultant plastic surgeon Professor Simon Kay, who has now performed the remarkable procedure on five patients, hand transplants are likely to be more common in the future.

“We had the technology to carry out the procedure thirty years ago but nobody thought the drugs would prevent rejection [of the hand] from the arm. We thought it was impossible,” he said. “I am enormously proud of everyone and I have a privilege to lead the team of 30 people. No transplants are possible without the courage of the patients who donate. If you want to find the real heroes look at them, they are amazing people.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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