Quadruple amputee given double hand transplant

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Media captionCorinne says she is thrilled

A woman from Renfrewshire who had been waiting for a double hand transplant for five years has successfully undergone the surgery.

Quadruple amputee Corinne Hutton, from Lochwinnoch, went through a 12-hour procedure at Leeds General Infirmary.

The news was announced by the charity Finding Your Feet, which the 47-year-old set up.

The campaigner lost her hands and feet in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis, which nearly killed her.

Speaking from her hospital bed after the operation, Ms Hutton thanked her medical team and said: “I’ve got hands, they look exactly like mine. They look amazing.

“I’ve got fingers, and they can move – I shouldn’t be doing that right enough, but it’s absolutely incredible. I’m so thrilled.”

Image copyright Find Your Feet
Image caption Corinne Hutton faced numerous setbacks before her operation was given the all-clear

A message on the Finding Your Feet Facebook page added: “All of this happened on the anniversary of this beautiful community she created out of tragedy. You could call it fate.”

Experts had been working to find suitable hands that were a match for the former businesswoman, who has campaigned to help raise awareness of organ and limb donation.

After more than a dozen false alarms over the years, she was informed this week that a match for her own blood group, skin tone and hand size had been found.

Finding Your Feet said she was taken by ambulance from her home to the hospital in West Yorkshire, where the surgery began at about 13: 00 on Monday.

Image copyright Finding Your Feet
Image caption Corinne Hutton (on the right) has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro

The team working on the procedure included Prof Andrew Hart, who performed the surgery to remove her hands and lower legs in 2013 and has since become a close friend.

Prof Simon Kay, who led the team, performed the first double hand transplant in the UK in 2016, and Ms Hutton was his sixth procedure.

He said: “Corinne is one of the most positive, resilient and determined people I have met and despite all the hurdles she has faced she has now got the hands she wishes for.

“She didn’t go into this lightly, she researched it deeply and understood the risks as well as the benefits.

“She realises what a remarkable life-affirming gift she has received from an unknown family devastated by grief and I know she will be forever grateful.”

Supporting amputees

Before she fell ill and was given a 5% chance of survival, Ms Hutton ran her own graphics company in Glasgow.

She now devotes her life to the charity she founded to support amputees throughout the UK.

Ms Hutton became the first female quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, climbed Ben Nevis, abseiled, cycled around the Isle of Arran, took up skiing and ballroom dancing lessons.

Image copyright John Linton
Image caption Corinne Hutton raised awareness by posing nude while painted with “transplantable” tissue

Her charity has so far raised more than £700,000 through fundraising and donations.

In 2016 she also posed nude, with her body painted with organs and tissue that are deemed transplantable in a bid to help raise awareness of transplant issues.

The first woman to receive a double hand transplant in the UK was Tanya Jackson, who was motivated to go for the procedure after seeing Ms Hutton on television.

Inspire people

A spokesman for Finding Your Feet thanked those who have supported Ms Hutton throughout her journey.

He said: “Cor was close to losing hope about finding a match for a transplant, but that’s not her style.

“She has accomplished an unbelievable amount since losing her limbs, and we’re certain she’ll continue to inspire people as she builds up strength and learns to use her new hands.

“It’s bittersweet, because transplants require a donor. That person and her family have changed the lives of many today, and made it possible for a mum to hold her son’s hand again. Cor will not waste a moment with what they’ve given her.”

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