60.2 F
Dallas
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
** Preferred Partner - click for more info **Red Flag Reputation

First man in UK to have hand transplant used it to save his wife’s life by performing CPR

The UK’s first patient to have a hand transplant has told how he went on to save his wife’s life by performing CPR after she went onto cardiac arrest.

Ten years after Mark Cahill, 61, underwent the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, the former pub landlord has revealed how it changed his life.

‘It’s just like my own hand. I know it’s somebody else’s hand but I think of it as part of me,’ he said. 

And six years after the surgery, Mr Cahill used his new hand to perform CPR on his wife Sylvia, keeping her alive for 10 minutes after a cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived.

The UK’s first patient to have a hand transplant has told how he went on to save his wife’s life by performing CPR after she went onto cardiac arrest (pictured together)

Ten years after Mark Cahill (left), 61, underwent the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, the former pub landlord has revealed how it changed his life

Ten years after Mark Cahill (left), 61, underwent the surgery at Leeds General Infirmary, the former pub landlord has revealed how it changed his life

He said: ‘She’s fit and well today. That was using my transplanted hand. So, it saved somebody else’s life as well, it’s been fantastic.’

Mr Cahill understands how hard it must be for families faced with a specialist nurse asking for a donation so soon after a tragic event in their lives.

‘That must be a terrible decision for them to make. You can see the hand whereas you can’t see the other organs.

‘I’m so chuffed with the families who have agreed to it. And, I’m well pleased that I got one, that somebody did that for me.’

He said: ‘It’s a sorrowful thing but they’ve given me that new hand for 10 years.’

Mr Cahill said: 'She's fit and well today. That was using my transplanted hand. So, it saved somebody else's life as well, it's been fantastic'

Mr Cahill said: ‘She’s fit and well today. That was using my transplanted hand. So, it saved somebody else’s life as well, it’s been fantastic’

Pictured: Mr Cahill, who was the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant in 2012, with Surgeon Simon Kay, at Leeds General Infirmary

Pictured: Mr Cahill, who was the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant in 2012, with Surgeon Simon Kay, at Leeds General Infirmary

In sharing his experience, Mr Cahill was able to help Corinna Hutton prepare for her own double hand transplant.

Ms Hutton lost both her hands and her legs to sepsis in 2013, and was scared of the procedure after she was warned it could take ‘months’ for her to accept the new hands as her own.

‘He was able to tell me what it was really like to live with it,’ she said. ‘That’s the way I needed it to be. Careful and cautious wasn’t me.’

‘It’s changed my life incredibly. I’m so grateful. Being able to touch my son’s hair, touch his skin, feel the warmth, things like that. It blows your mind. You take this for granted so easily.’

She said the first few months after the transplant were very hard but the breakthrough came after about five months when she went to Glastonbury and was ‘back to being me’.

Mr Cahill understands how hard it must be for families faced with a specialist nurse asking for a donation so soon after a tragic event in their lives

Mr Cahill understands how hard it must be for families faced with a specialist nurse asking for a donation so soon after a tragic event in their lives

In sharing his experience, Mr Cahill was able to help Corinna Hutton prepare for her own double hand transplant

In sharing his experience, Mr Cahill was able to help Corinna Hutton prepare for her own double hand transplant

‘Since then, it’s been a constant improvement,’ she said. ‘Even now, four years later, every week I get to do something new or something that defeated me.’

‘The minute I woke up they were mine. They were instantly mine. They looked like mine, they felt like mine, they were mine.

‘Then I had this guilt-trip straightaway, thinking somebody’s just died and given me their hands. I don’t ever want to forget that. Any time I celebrate my hands I think about how another family is coping.’

Unlike Mr Cahill, Ms Hutton has met her donor’s family.

She said: ‘They can see her and feel her and touch her with my hands. It just blows your mind, doesn’t it?’

Six years after the surgery, Mr Cahill used his new hand to perform CPR on his wife Sylvia, keeping her alive for 10 minutes after a cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived

Six years after the surgery, Mr Cahill used his new hand to perform CPR on his wife Sylvia, keeping her alive for 10 minutes after a cardiac arrest before paramedics arrived

Chris King, 63, from Rossington, near Doncaster, received a double hand transplant in 2016 after losing all his fingers apart from his thumbs in a horror work accident.

‘It’s been a weirdly wonderful journey,’ Mr King said. ‘Life’s back to a good state.’

Mr King said that, while he never really thinks of his hands coming from someone else, he regularly thinks about the donor.

‘I wonder what he was like. Was he a family lad? Did he have a daughter or a son?’ he said. ‘Was he a biker, because I love motorbikes?’

He said he agonised over writing a letter of thanks to the donor’s family, who he has not met. And, soon after the operation, he said he spent a full day crying for the person who had died and his family.

‘I was crying and thinking about the donor – what was he like? And I suppose they’ve done a lot of crying themselves.’

Mr King said it has not been an easy journey since 2016 but he would not think twice about doing it again.

He said he is amazed when he sees how fast his finger nails grow. And he said he knew he had accepted his new hands when he found himself biting his nails – something he has not done since, on doctors’ advice.

Source

Related Articles

Latest Articles