First UK man to have hand transplant saves wife with CPR

Resuscitation Council UK shares how to perform CPR safely during coronavirus pandemic

Mark Cahill, 61, the UK's first man to receive a successful hand transplant a decade ago, saved his wife by giving her 10 minutes of CPR after she experienced a heart attack.

"It's just like my own hand. I know it's somebody else's hand, but I think of it as part of me," the former pub landlord said.

Six years after his surgery, Cahill used his new hand to perform CPR on his wife Sylvia, which helped her stay alive for 10 minutes after cardiac arrest before paramedics made it to the scene.

He explained that his wife is well and that he used his "transplanted hand" to save her life.

Cahill also realises the difficulties families endure with a specialist nurse asking for donations soon after hard times enter their lives.

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"That must be a terrible decision for them to make. You can see the hand, whereas you can't see the other organs."

"It's just like my own hand. I know it's somebody else's hand, but I think of it as part of me.:Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Detailing his experience, Cahill was able to help others in similar predicaments, including a woman named Corinna Hutton.

Hutton lost her hands and legs to sepsis in 2013 and received a double hand transplant.

She was fearful of the procedure after being warned that it could take "months" for her to embrace the new hands as her own.

"He was able to tell me what it was really like to live with it,' she said. 'That's the way I needed it to be. Careful and cautious wasn't me," Hutton said.

Since the procedure, she said her life had significant changes. She was able to enjoy life's simple moments again, such as touching her son's skin and hair.

"You take this for granted so easily."

Hutton also noted that the months after her transplant were complex. However, after five months, she went to Glastonbury and felt like herself.

"Even now, four years later, every week I get to do something new or something that defeated me," she said.

Elsewhere, Hutton explained that she doesn't want to forget that her donor made this possible for her.

"Thinking somebody's just died and given me their hands. I don't ever want to forget that. Any time I celebrate my hands, I think about how another family is coping," she continued.

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