Scottish Father-Of-Three, 48, Becomes First Double Hand Transplant Recipient

Read Time:5 Minute, 14 Second

A man whose hands were rendered unusable by scleroderma has been given a new lease on life after what is believed to be the world’s first two-hand transplant for the condition.

Steven Gallagher, 48, was diagnosed with scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that causes scarring of the skin and internal organs, after he developed an unusual rash on his cheeks and nose about 13 years ago, and pain in his right arm. .

Doctors initially said it might be lupus, then thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome and operated on him, but when the pain returned in both arms they referred him to a specialist who confirmed he had scleroderma.

The condition affected areas such as his nose, mouth and hands and, about seven years ago, his fingers began to curl into a fist position and he was in “horrendous” pain.

When experts floated the idea of ​​a two-hand transplant, the father-of-three initially dismissed the idea, but later decided to go ahead despite the risks.

Steven Gallagher, from Dreghorn, Ayrshire, is the first person in the world to receive a two-hand transplant after suffering from the rare disease scleroderma.

Steven’s hands were rendered unusable due to scleroderma, but he has been given a new lease on life after what is believed to be the world’s first two-hand transplant for the condition.

When experts floated the idea of ​​a two-hand transplant, the father-of-three initially dismissed the idea, but later decided to go ahead despite the risks.

The condition affected areas such as his nose, mouth and hands and, about seven years ago, his fingers began to curl into a fist position and he was in “horrendous” pain. But he is now beginning to gain control of her new hands.

He told the PA news agency: ‘My hands started to clench, it got to the point where it was basically two fists, my hands were unusable, I couldn’t do anything but pick things up with two hands.

‘I couldn’t grab anything, it was a struggle to get dressed and stuff like that.

“When Professor Hart in Glasgow mentioned to me about a double hand transplant, at the time I laughed and thought it was something like the space age, but, after thinking about it for a while, I spoke further with Professor Hart and went down to Leeds and spoke to Professor Kay.

They were very understanding and they were very open about what could happen, that I could lose my hands completely, they said it was unlikely but it was a risk.

‘My wife and I talked about it and we came to an agreement to do it. I might end up losing my hands anyway, so it was just a matter of letting them know I was going to take it.’

Mr Gallagher, from Dreghorn in North Ayrshire, had to undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure he was prepared for the prospect of a transplant.

He then underwent the 12-hour operation in mid-December 2021 after finding a suitable donor.

The hand transplant team at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, which carried out the surgery, said it is the first time in the world that hand transplantation has been used to replace hands terminally affected by scleroderma.

Mr Gallagher said: “After the operation I woke up and it was quite surreal because before I had my hands and then when I woke up from the operation I still had hands, so in my head I never lost any.”

‘These hands are amazing, everything has happened so fast. From the moment I woke up from the operation I was able to move them.

More than five months after the operation, his condition is improving and although he cannot perform tasks that require a lot of dexterity, such as fastening buttons, he can do things like turn on the tap and fill a glass of water.

The 48-year-old worked as a bricklayer and was appointed deputy contract manager, but had to stop working due to his condition.

Steven is happy to be able to do everyday things like pet his dog and is constantly improving the dexterity of his new gloves.

He added: ‘It has given me a new chance at life. I am still finding things difficult at the moment but things are getting better every week with the physio and occupational therapists everything is slowly getting better.

‘Pain is the most important thing. The pain before the operation was excruciating, I was taking so many painkillers it was unbelievable, but now I don’t feel any pain.’

Mr Gallagher, who has three daughters aged 12, 24 and 27, spent around four weeks in Leeds General Infirmary after the operation and regularly visits Glasgow hospitals for physiotherapy and follow-up.

More than five months after the operation, his condition is improving and although he cannot do tasks that require a lot of dexterity, such as fastening his buttons, he can do things like pet his dog, turn on the tap and fill a glass of water.

The 48-year-old worked as a bricklayer and was appointed deputy contract manager, but had to stop working due to his condition.

‘Pain is the most important thing. The pain before the operation was excruciating, I was taking so many painkillers it was unbelievable, but now I don’t feel any pain’

He now hopes to return to some form of work once his hands have improved sufficiently, and he is very grateful to the person and the donor’s family who made the transplant possible.

The surgery involved a strong team of 30 professionals from many disciplines.

Professor Simon Kay, from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘This operation has been a great team effort with input from our colleagues here in Leeds and in Glasgow.

‘Having a hand transplant is very different from a kidney or other organ transplant, as hands are something we see every day and use them in many ways.

‘For this reason, we and our expert clinical psychologists assess and prepare patients to ensure that they will be able to psychologically cope with the constant reminder of their transplant and the risk of the body rejecting the transplanted hands.’

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Previous post Elon Musk Will Put Up $6 Billion To Drop Tesla Loans From His Twitter Deal
Next post Five Bombshells As Johnny Depp And Kate Moss Take To The Stand In Amber Heard Trial