A man who had a hand transplant saved his wife’s life by performing CPR on her with his new appendage.
Mark Cahill, 61, kept Sylvia alive for 10 minutes until paramedics arrived after she suffered a heart attack.
“She’s fit and well today,” said the former landlord, who was the first in the country to undergo the procedure. That was with my transplanted hand.
“So, it saved somebody else’s life as well. It’s been fantastic.”
Mark, of Halifax, West Yorkshire, had surgery ten years ago today after gout rendered his right hand inoperable. Six years later, he was able to help Sylvia.
He said: “It’s just like my own hand. I know it’s somebody else’s but I think of it as part of me.”
The transplant was carried out at Leeds General Infirmary, the UK’s only hospital that offers the procedure. Its unit has given 14 new hands to eight patients over the last decade.
Hand transplants have been proven to be “predictable, reliable, and successful,” according to Prof Simon Kay, who operated on Mark.
The consultant plastic surgeon will now concentrate on child limb loss.
He added: “There’s a large number of children out there who lose their limbs from sepsis who would greatly benefit from hand transplantation.”
Anthony Clarkson, director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It has been fantastic to see the lives of both patients and their families transformed by this precious gift.”
Patients are prepared for a year before surgery to reduce the risk of both psychologically and physically rejecting the donated hand.