This Article is From May 19, 2016

A Year After Transplant, This Man Extends A Helping Hand To Others

India's first patient Manu who got a hand transplant last year says his hands are now fully functional.

Organ donation usually involves internal organs and eyes. But India's first patient to get a hand transplant last year says his hands are now fully functional. 31-year-old Manu TR now works as a transplant assistant at the hospital which restored his hands -- Kerala's Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.  

Manu lost both his hands in 2013 when he was thrown off a train while trying to save a couple from harassment. "After the accident, I felt suicidal," Manu told NDTV.

Later, he heard of the hospital doing transplants on a television programme. He approached the hospital immediately. The entire cost of the surgery - the first of the sort in India -- was borne by the hospital.

But that was the easy part, indicate doctors. The 16-hour surgery was a complicated medical challenge for their team of 30.

Dr Subramania Iyer, who headed the transplant team, told NDTV that the whole process was a long one.

"Preparing for the surgery, the surgery itself, and about a year to recover and get use of the hands after the surgery. He will have to take medicines for life to avoid rejection -- but his physiotherapy is almost over," he said.

"The donor, Binoy, was a brain dead accident victim," said Manu. "It is so sad that Binoy died. He helped me have a new life."

Awareness about the possibility of hand donation is very low and there is often resistance from the donor's family to the idea of visibly damaging the body of a loved one. The answer to this, Dr Iyer said, was prosthetic hands, which are offered as a replacement to the donor family.

Besides Manu, the hospital has conducted a similar operation on, Abdul Rahim, an army officer from Afghanistan who lost his hands to a land mine. He is now back at work in the Afghan BSF.