Hand transplant patient returns home with confidence

Hand transplant patient returns home with confidence

R Narayanasamy

When 29-year-old R Narayanasamy was wheeled into a government hospital here in February 2018, he was not confident that he would get back to hold a mobile phone in his hands, which he lost during an accident four years back.

A year later, the former construction worker now proudly shows off his both hands and is even able to perform a few actions — thanks to the hand transplant surgery performed on him.

Narayanasamy, who hails from Dindigul district and sole breadwinner of the family, left for his hometown on Monday — almost a year after he was admitted to the Government Stanley Hospital here. The surgery was performed on February 7, 2018.

Stanley Hospital is the first government institution to have performed hand transplant in the country — only a few institutes across the world perform the complex surgery.

“I thought all was over, but now I feel it is just the beginning. The hospital was just like an extension of home because of caring doctors and nursing staff. My could hold a mobile phone, shake hands and drink water only because of the doctors who took up the challenge of performing the surgery,” the now 30-year-old youth told DH.

Narayanasamy will now work at the Dindigul District Government Hospital and his appointment order was handed over by the top brass of the government on Monday.

From 2015 to 2018 till the time Narayanasamy was referred to Stanley Hospital — life was difficult. Having lost both his hands, the youth thought his life had come to an end, but he got back the organs that he had lost — thanks to the family of another youth who was declared brain-dead.

“Narayanasamy had to wait till he got the compatible donor. A team of 70 doctors were involved in the surgery and we made it a success. Since it was a very rare and complex surgery, we monitored the patient for about a year. We observed him keenly after the surgery and we were vigilant to ensure he does not develop any complications,” Dr V Rama Devi, Head of Plastic Surgery Department, told DH.

Today, Narayanasamy not just holds a mobile phone, but also holds a glass and drinks water. 

“Today, I feel very happy to leave for my home not as a patient but as a much confident man. My hands are back, and I just can’t express my happiness in words. Since I can work now, I am confident of a better life. I would like to start a small business on my own,” he said.

Dr Rama Devi said Narayanasamy has been asked to come to Chennai every month for a check-up and the hospital has planned for physiotherapists to visit him every week to help him in performing routine activities. “He cannot perform every action but can do a whole lot of things. We have advised not to get into a crowd and imposed a few restrictions on his diet,” the surgeon said.

Narayanasamy’s sister R Vanitha said she was happy to take her brother back to her town. “It is nothing short of a miracle. We were left in the lurch around the same time last year, but my brother is back in action now. We hope that he will live a confident life,” she said.