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Two accident victims get new arms in transplants at Kochi hospital

An employee of an electric company, Amaresh was the first case of shoulder-level full-arm transplant in India

Lives of two accident patients changed thanks to the organ donation by another two victims. It is a heart-warming story of Vinod and Ambili whose donation of arms has given a new lease of life to Amaresh and Yousif.

It was at Kochi’s Amrita Hospital these two bilateral hand transplants were performed successfully.

As a junior staffer in Karnataka’s Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company, Amaresh, 25, lost both his hands due to electrocution during work a few years ago. He approached Amrita Hospital’s hand transplant team and also registered with Kerala Network for Organ Sharing (KNOS) in September 2018.

In Kerala, 54-year-old Vinod, native of Kollam, whose motorbike collided with a private bus was rushed to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital with grievous injuries to his head. He was declared brain dead on January 4, 2022 and his organs were donated by his relatives.

Following this Vinod’s hands were successfully stitched in an 18-hour surgery at Amrita Hospital on January 5, 2022. This surgery was performed by a team led by Dr Subramania Iyer and Dr Mohit Sharma which included 20 surgeons and 10 anaesthetists.

Talking about it, Dr. Iyer who is the Head of the Centre for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery said: “It was a complicated and rare operation that lasted 18 hours.” He added that so far only three shoulder-level full-arm transplants have been performed in the world, and this is the first in India.

Man from Iraq gets hands from Alappuzha woman

Yousif, 29, is a construction worker from Baghdad, Iraq who in April 2019 while drilling a wall, came in contact with high-voltage electric cables electrocuting him instantly. He was rushed to the hospital where both his hands had to be amputated below the elbows.

Yousif Hasan Saeed Al Suwaini
Yousif from Iraq received transplant from a 39-year-old woman Ambily

As a sole breadwinner of his family he was keen to get treated and reached Amrita Hospital six months after the accident.

Talking to the media he said: “I had heard a lot about Amrita Hospital from doctors in Iraq as one of the very few hospitals in Asia where hand transplants are conducted. It was my only ray of hope of getting my life back.”

It was in July 2021 Yousif registered with KNOS and in February this year he received a call. A 39-year-old woman, Ambily from Alappuzha, Kerala was injured in an accident and her family decided to donate her organs, including the hands.

On February 2 the team of doctors led by Dr. Iyer transplanted both the limbs in a surgery that spanned for 16 hours. Speaking about the surgery, Dr. Iyer said: “Both hands had to be fixed at the level of the wrists. Difficulties were encountered in connecting some blood vessels. This was resolved with grafts. He was discharged from the hospital after three weeks.”