'I'm getting slight movement now': Transplant first for Britain as Mark Cahill is given new hand

 

A 51-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to receive a new hand in a pioneering eight-hour transplant operation.

Mark Cahill, of Halifax, underwent the long, complex procedure at Leeds General Infirmary last week after a donor hand that matched his blood type became available.

A shocked Mr Cahill was told on Boxing Day that a donor hand was available and he underwent the procedure a day later in the pioneering operation.

The former pub landlord from Greetland, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, said the move had changed his life.

He told ITV's Daybreak: "Eight o'clock on Boxing Day night we got a phone call saying we may have a donor.

"As you can imagine, the day after Christmas it was quite a shock.

"I'm getting slight movement now, my feeling has just started coming back, but everything's looking very, very good.

"Long term I won't have 100% use of it, but obviously I'm going to have a lot more use than I had with the existing hand.

"I think I've dealt with it pretty well. The only thing you can't do is know what is going to happen after the operation, and as it has turned out it is brilliant. I'm well happy.

"Hopefully I will be able to get back to work for a start, that's a major difference.

"For a start I might be able to cut my food up, button my shirts, fasten a pair of shoelaces, and mainly I'll be able to hold my grandson's hand."

And Mr Cahill told the BBC: "When I look at it and move it, it just feels like my hand.

"Right now it feels really good, it's not a lot of pain, it looks good, it looks a great match and I'm looking forward to getting it working now."

The surgical team, which was led by Professor Simon Kay, an internationally renowned microsurgeon who has reattached dozens of partially severed hands, is thought to have made history by becoming the first to remove a recipient's non-functioning right-hand and transplanting the donor hand in the same surgery. About 60 hand transplants have been carried out successfully around the world but this procedure allowed for a more accurate restoration of nerve structures and a greater chance of success.

This is a potentially critical improvement, as the first man in the world to have a hand transplant later needed it removed. But the new feat is not without ethical concerns. The patient must take immunosuppressant drugs for life, increasing the risk of cancer and infection in the host.

The Yorkshire-based team of surgeons had been planning the procedure since December 2011.

The potential patients went through a series of health checks and psychological assessments to ensure they have carefully considered the implications of the procedure, which whittled down the candidates from six to only two, a spokesman for the hospital said. Mr Cahill, who was one of the two potential recipients chosen last year, suffered from gout from an early age, leaving one hand completely non-functioning and another with only partial movement.

"The team was on standby from the end of November awaiting a suitable donor limb and the call came just after Christmas," Professor Kay said. "It is still early days but indications are good and the patient is making good progress.

"This operation is the culmination of a great deal of planning and preparation over the last two years."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeeper

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is the holding company of an expa...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Engineer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Setup, configure, troubleshoot,...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

    £15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future