With new limbs, she gets fresh lease of life

Starting anew: Shreya with plastic surgeon Dr. Subramania Iyer at a press meet in Kochi on Wednesday.

Starting anew: Shreya with plastic surgeon Dr. Subramania Iyer at a press meet in Kochi on Wednesday.  

19-year-old Shreya from Pune had lost her hands in a traumatic bus accident last year

KOCHI: Shreya is all smiles with her newly acquired arms. “I want to be independent. I don’t want to depend on my mother to get things done. I believe I can achieve it,” said the confident 19-year old, who was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after an upper arm double hand transplant.

Exactly a year ago on September 28, 2016, both her arms had got crushed in a traumatic accident while she was travelling by bus from Pune to the Manipal Institute of Technology.

“I was devastated then…when I realised the status of my arms at the hospital. But thanks to my parents, who did not want me to lose out on life...I can now look forward to starting anew,” said Shreya, who aims to join a chemical engineering course after her rehabilitation. “The college has kept a seat for me,” she added. Shreya’s mother Suma and father Siddanagowda, who works with Tata Motors in Pune, felt it was their daughter’s strong will that made her undergo the surgery.

She had already learnt to use the stumps of her amputated arms and had started using her toes to text on the mobile. For Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, the surgery was the first of its kind in Asia, according to Dr. Subramania Iyer, head of the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

He led a team of 30-odd members, from transplant co-ordinators, nurses, and experts in orthopaedics and anaesthesiology, in a 16-hour-long procedure.

Shreya and her parents had approached the hospital nearly two months after the accident, but it was too early for any such decision. They returned in August this year. It was then that Sachin, a 20-year-old B.Com student of Rajagiri, was declared brain dead following an accident. His parents, Radhakrishnan and Girija, donated their son’s organs which helped Shreya.

Tissue matching was a big challenge, said Dr. Iyer at the press meet on Wednesday. There was colour mismatch and sex mismatch, but Shreya and her parents did not feel that should be a problem.

“The size of the donor’s hands was slightly bigger, but the orthopaedic team got around to set it right. There have been female-to-male transplants, but this was the first male-to-female transplant, perhaps,” Dr. Iyer added.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:01:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/with-new-limbs-she-gets-fresh-lease-of-life/article19764712.ece

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