A WOMAN who had her hands amputated following illness is to undergo the UK’s first double hand transplant at a hospital in Leeds later this year.
Corinne Hutton, from Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, also lost her feet after a pneumonia infection led to blood poisoning last summer.
The mother-of-one is preparing for life-changing surgery at Leeds General Infirmary led by Professor Simon Kay.
Prof Kay carried out the country’s first hand transplant on Mark Cahill last year.
If successful, Ms Hutton is expected to have some sensation in her new hands almost immediately but it will take 14 to 16 months for the transplants to settle down.
She will also have to take immuno-suppressants for the rest of her life.
Ms Hutton told the BBC: “I’ve been told that it’s psychologically tough.
“I like to think that I’d be grateful to whoever had given me those hands. I spoke to Mark and he agreed that was his angle on it.”
Prof Kay said he believed the results will be “exceptional” and Ms Hutton will quickly get good function, due in part to the work of the team in Glasgow who removed her hands in a way that would facilitate a later transplant.
Ms Hutton was struck down with a Streptococcus A infection which caused pneumonia and sepsis in June 2013.
A specialist team from Leicester employed an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine to oxygenate her blood and saved her life.
The infection and the treatment she needed starved her hands and feet of blood.
Prof Kay told the BBC: “In Mark’s case we had to replace three nerves, whereas in Corinne’s case it’ll be more like 10, plus all the tendons need to be repaired individually.
“So, from a technical point of view, it’s much more complex, but the concept is the same.”
Surgery is expected to take place this autumn.
Following her amputation, Ms Hutton established the Finding Your Feet charity, which was set up to raise funds for her recovery but which now helps other people who have limbs amputated.