Hand op man wants second chance
LYON, France -- The recipient of the world's first hand transplant - who then had it amputated - has now said he wants a second replacement hand.
New Zealander Clint Hallam made surgical history when in 1998 a team of surgeons grafted a donor hand onto his forearm.
But he infuriated his medics by failing to attend post-op physio sessions or take anti-rejection drugs before finally insisting that the hand be amputated.
Now in an e-mail to the French surgeons he says he has changed his mind and asks for another transplant, the medical team says.
Hallam, 51, lost his right hand in a chain saw accident 17 years ago. He said his body had rejected the donor hand and that he had become "mentally detached from it."
Doctors said his failure to follow the correct drug treatment, including intensive physiotherapy, inevitably resulted in complications and signs that his body was rejecting the limb.
"Hallam sent an e-mail to Nadey Hakim asking for a new hand to be grafted," Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard, who led the Lyon team, said.
Dubernard indicated Hallam had missed his chance. French medical authorities have decided that only transplant operations considered vital should be carried out, for instance on a patient who has lost both arms.
Psychologist Gabriel Bourloud said Hallam likely became so used to living with one hand that he lacked the will to complete the difficult and lengthy process of adapting to his new limb.
"Hallam was not motivated during his physiotherapy and did not take his medicine, so his hand suffered," Bourloud added.
Doctors cut off transplant hand
February 03, 2001
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