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JIPMER performs its first bilateral cadaveric hand transplantation

The JIPMER institute in Puducherry successfully performed a 16-hour surgery to transplant both forearms and hands from a 50-year brain-dead donor to a 16-year-old bilateral below-elbow amputee.

Published: 10th August 2017 07:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2017 07:31 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) has successfully performed its first bilateral Cadaveric hand transplantation free of cost on August 2 2017.

According to a JIPMER release here today, a multidisciplinary team led by Dr Dinesh Kumar S, Chief Reconstructive Transplant Surgeon, Department of Plastic Surgery, performed a 16-hour surgery to transplant both forearms and hands from a 50-year brain-dead donor to a 16-year-old bilateral below-elbow amputee.

JIPMER is the first government institution in the country to achieve this milestone even though it was granted the license to perform reconstructive cadaveric transplants only in August 2016. JIPMER director  Dr S C Parija while congratulating the multidisciplinary team also expressed his appreciation towards the team of nurses who assisted the surgical team and all the other support staff.

On August 1 2017,  Rathinambal,  a resident of R C Melakunthai colony of  Vikkravandi, Villupuram District of Tamilnadu, sustained a head injury after falling from a two wheeler. She was initially treated in Vikkravandi GH and later referred to JIPMER when she lost consciousness. Even after reaching JIPMER her condition continued to worsen.

On August 2 2017, tests confirmed that she had irreversible brain damage incompatible with life and the same was informed to her daughter Shanthi and her son in law T V Natarajan. Despite the tragedy, the family came forward to donate the organs of Rathinambal as they felt that it would help others to live, otherwise the organs may go waste. In a first, the family agreed to donate both her hands in addition to her internal organs.

As it was a medico-legal case, the concerned police station was intimated to conduct an inquest to proceed for organ donation.  Ilancheizhiyan, Inspector of Police, Vikkravandi Police station readily came to JIPMER on time and did the inquest and completed other medico-legal formalities, thus facilitating the organ donation process. The brain death certification was done by a team of experts led by Dr Sunil K Narayan (Neurology) and Dr Sadish Kumar (Endocrinology).

A multi-disciplinary team of specialists performed the complex procedure which involved detaching both the forearms and hands of the donor and reattaching them in a specific sequence to the adequately prepared amputated stump of the recipient

The kidneys and corneas were also harvested and transplanted to needy patients in JIPMER Hospital by the renal transplant team led by Dr Manikandan and the corneal transplant team led by Dr Ramesh Babu.    

S C Parija expressed his profound appreciation towards the family of Rathinambal – the brain-dead donor – who readily came forward to donate the organs of the lady, even though illiterate and from a poor family. Their action has saved the lives of 2 patients who received her kidneys, returned vision to 2 blind patients who received her cornea and returning function to 1 patient who received her hands. He appreciated the wisdom and magnanimity of the family and hoped that they would serve as a role model for others.

He said that JIPMER acknowledges them as the real heroes of this story which highlights that human compassion can overcome all social and cultural taboos.

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