HELPING-HANDS, LITERALLY: Afghan Military Captain gets new hands from a South Indian!

Doctors of a private hospital in Kerala’s port city of Cochin have given a new lease of life to an Afghan national by conducting a double hand transplant.

The transplant was conducted at Amrita Institute of Medical Science on Afghan Army bomb disposal expert Abdul Rahim (30), who lost his hands three years ago while trying to defuse mines as part of his duties. The donor is the family of 54-year-old Joseph from Eloor, Kerala, who succumbed to brain death in a road accident.

Led by Dr. Subramaniam Iyer, professor and head of the plastic surgery department, the transplant was carried out in a marathon surgical procedure lasting for almost 15 hours with more than 20 surgeons and eight anaesthetics participating and completing the complicated transplant procedure last month.

The surgeon said Rahim’s hands had regained considerable amount of function. The hospital authorities claimed the second successful double hands transplant carried out at AIMS is yet another milestone in organ transplant in the country.

Joseph’s wife Francy and daughter Alisha and relatives visited the hospital. The family was happy seeing the bi-coloured hands of Rahim.

Rahim can now write, drink a glass of water on his own and dial numbers on his mobile phone. He will be able to eat with his own hands soon. However, the surgeon said he may take time to regain the sensation. He has to undergo regular follow ups and physiotherapy for another year.

Afghan Military Captain gets new hands India

Rahim is planning to stay back in the city for the physiotherapy. Rahim had not hoped he will be able to regain his hands. He thought his life will not be the same again. He told a national television channel that in the beginning he was not even aware that hand transplant was possible.

“I thought my life was gone. I was very unhappy and thought it was better to die rather than live like this,” Rahim said.

Prem Nair, Medical Director of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Centre (AIMS) said that the family of the accident victim was counselled for the donation and they agreed after confirming that the hands will be replaced by prosthetic limbs to reduce deformity of the dead.

The first ever double hand transplant in India was done at Amrita in January this year on a 30-year-old train accident victim. 30-year-old Manu is progressing extremely well, doing all routine activities, they said.

– Spadman