London Sunday Times
February 4, 2001
THE world's first hand-transplant patient has had his new hand
amputated after his body began to reject it, writes Adam NathanAdam
The operation was carried out in London on Clint Hallam, a New
Zealander, after he had pleaded to have it removed. Earl Owen, an
Australian microsurgeon who co-led the international team that
performed the revolutionary operation to attach the hand in France in
1998, said Hallam had failed to look after it properly.
"He went without drugs for weeks at a time and failed to follow the
treatment plan," said Owen.
Hallam had come to loathe his "dead man's hand", saying he had no
feeling in it. He also had problems meeting the £10,000 yearly drug
Nadey Hakim, a surgeon at St Mary's Hospital, London, carried out the
amputation on Friday evening in a private hospital. Hakim said the
operation was necessary because for two months Hallam had not been
taking the medication prescribed as part of the anti-rejection
treatment. "His life was in danger," he said.
Hallam, 50, who lost his hand in a circular saw accident in 1984, is
expected to be able to leave hospital tomorrow. He had declared that
his body and mind had said "enough is enough" and the hand should be
Hallam said for the first year, the right hand - which had belonged to
a French motorcyclist killed in an accident - had functioned well.
But there had been constant "pockets of rejection". He denied this was
sparked by failure to take medication.
Previously he had talked of being "mentally detached" from the hand,
which was larger than his own.
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