SYDNEY (AFP) – A man who lost his hands and feet to a bacterial infection four years ago has become Australia’s first recipient of a hand transplant, a report said Thursday.
Peter Walsh, 65, underwent the successful nine-hour operation in Sydney this week.
“Peter was wriggling his fingers today,” Professor Wayne Morrison, who led the 20-strong surgical team, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
“We actually don’t want him to be moving his hand yet, but it’s demonstrating everything is connected. Everything is on track.”
Walsh lost his hands, most of his left leg and part of his right foot four years ago to a bacterial infection which almost claimed his life.
“I’m not one for holding hands but it would mean so much to have hands again,” said Walsh, a grandfather of 16. “I don’t know who gave it to me, but I am so thankful for what they have done.”
Whether his body accepts the new hand will not be known for days, or even weeks.
More than 60 hand transplants have been performed around the world since New Zealander Clint Hallam became the first successful recipient in 1998 in an operation carried out in France.