X-Message-Number: 10467
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 17:24:48 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: Hand transplant

Amputee Gets Donor's Arm, Hand In Surgical First

LYON, France (Reuters) - In a surgical first, an international team of
doctors sewed a donor's
hand and arm on a man whose arm had been amputated in 1989 after an
accident, a French
hospital announced Thursday.

The extremely delicate operation, which took place Wednesday at the
Edouard Herriot hospital
in Lyon in central France, took 13-1/2 hours, hospital officials said.

The surgical breakthrough ``gives hope to millions of victims of
workplace and domestic
accidents, survivors of war or land mines and individuals born with
hereditary deformities,'' the
hospital said in a printed statement.

The graft was performed on Australian businessman Clint Hallam, 48, who
had lost his hand in a
logging accident, the hospital said.

The name of the donor was not disclosed, but hospital officials said the
individual was a
brain-dead patient.

The medical team of six doctors included international experts in
microsurgery, orthopedics and
transplant surgery. It was led by Drs Jean-Michel Dubernard of Lyon and
Earl Owen of Sydney,
Australia, the hospital said.

The procedure initially involved attaching the bone of the donated hand
and forearm to Hallam's
forearm. Afterwards doctors painstakingly sutured together the blood
vessels, nerves, tendons,
muscles and skin.

It will take some time to determine to what extent the man will be able
to gain use of the grafted
arm and hand, doctors cautioned.


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