In what is termed as the first of its kind surgery in India, a teenaged girl from Gujarat, born with a congenital hand aplasia, has got a new right hand after a grueling and complex 13-hour surgery in a private Mumbai hospital.
The 18-year-old girl, Samiya Mansuri hails from Bharuch in south Gujarat and was born with anomalies like hand and finger deformities which prevented her right hand from completely developing.
“Her forearm, wrist and hand were severely deficient, she had very small finger nubbins, due to the deformity, all the blood vessels, muscles, bones and nerves were smaller than usual,” said Dr Nilesh Satbhai, Senior Consultant, Plastic, Hand & Reconstructive Microsurgeon of Global Hospitals who led the team which operated on her.
Her family had been running to different hospitals, including in Rajasthan, for a good hand prosthesis but finally realised that it would never give her a functional hand.
Then, around two years ago, they consulted Dr Satbhai at Global Hospitals seeking a hand transplant, and after a series of discussions, the medical team agreed, and decided to do a transplant after Samiya turned 18 to enable take her official consent.
As the eager Samiya looked at the calendar, on January 10, she turned 18 — and miraculously, the family of a brain-dead 52-year-old woman from Indore happened to donate an arm that Samiya could use.
Samiya was rushed from Bharuch to Global Hospitals here for the first-ever such limb transplant procedure in the country, Dr Satbhai said.
“The donor limb that we got is matching the patient (Samiya)’s hand colour, though the size is slightly bigger. We have done the bone joining below the elbow, and modifying the blood vessels and nerves on the upper arm as she already had a functional arm,” Dr. Satbhai told IANS later.
He said that after a few months of exercises and physiotherapy and taking proper care, Samiya will have a hand that is more than 90 percent functional, will experience all types of sensations, and shall perform most normal duties like ordinary people.
During the surgery, the medicos preserved all the existing functions of Samiya’s elbow, but repaired the blood vessels and nerves above to match their size, and started her rehab programme for nerve recovery.
“She will need around a year for a strong and fully functional hand,” said Dr. Satbhai, as the hospital discharged the patient on Friday.
“This surgery is a ray of hope for people with birth defects and awaiting a hand transplant. Samiya’s successful story will inspire and encourage other donors to donate hands and change the lives of the beneficiaries for the better,” said Dr. Vivek Talaulikar, Chief Executive Officer, Global Hospital.
For the overjoyed Samiya, its like a dream come true and she celebrated the day by cutting a cake, gently raising her ‘new’ arm for media persons.
Her mother, Shenaz Mansuri expressed her gratitude to the donor’s family for helping their daughter in the “miracle” and the medical team for achieving this milestone that will enhance Samiya’s life.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at email@example.com)