Docs join hands for woman’s sake

Six years after Monika More (24) lost her hands in a train incident in 2014, she underwent a successful bilateral hand transplant at Global Hospital, Parel on Friday. It is the first bilateral hand transplant in Mumbai. Doctors said it was a complicated procedure and the patient was shifted to the ICU postoperatively for further management. Her family members waited eagerly to see Monica's new hands.

Monika had lost her hands when she attempted to board a moving train at Ghatkopar station. She slipped through the gaps onto the tracks. She had to undergo amputation from above her elbows. Currently, she is under observation for 2-3 days. “Before surgery Monica and her mother underwent Covid-19 antigen and RT-PCR testing which was negative. Currently her immunity is low due to which doctors have given her immunosuppressant medicines and have asked us not to meet her for 3-4 days,” said her uncle Vishwas.

According to the doctors, the hands were retrieved from a 30-year-old brain dead deceased male donor at Global hospital, Chennai on Thursday. It was airlifted to Mumbai on August 27.

The surgery was conducted by a 12-member team led by Dr Nilesh Satbhai. The surgery started on Thursday night and was completed on Friday evening.

A team of anaesthetist, plastic surgeons and transplant surgeons, together fused the bone, then two arteries, six veins, and several tendon muscles. Upper arm transplants are tougher than transplants at the wrist, thanks to the complexity involved in accurately identifying and connecting various nerves, tendons and arteries, said doctors.

Doctors suspect her nerves have lost sensations and rehabilitation will take close to a year. Official spokesperson of Global Hospital, Parel thanked all the doctors, traffic police and airport authorities of Mumbai and Chennai for their help.
The Kurla resident had registered herself for a hand transplant procedure in September 2018. The first successful hand transplant in India was conducted by AIMS on a Kochi native and train accident victim Manu on January 13, 2015. In 2018, Pune’s Command hospital attempted western India’s first double hand transplant on a serving soldier, but the transplant failed thanks to hyper acute rejection. Earlier Siddhi Gaonkar was also transplanted with male hands, which in two years lightened to match her skin tone and even became more feminine.

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