Afghan captain with Indian hands

Published on May 17, 2015 13:17:17 PM
News
It is with admiration and awe that Abdul Rahim, the 30-year-old Afghani, keeps looking at his 'dual-coloured' hands. Rahim, a captain with the Afghan border police who lost both his hands while trying to defuse a land mine in Khandahar, will soon leave Amrita Hospital after a successful twin-hand transplant.

The surgery carried out over a month ago lasted 15 hours, one hour less than the first such transplant at the hospital. "His hand structure was good and the progress has been fast, driven largely by his willpower. Two bones, two arteries, five veins, five nerves and 25 tendons were joined in each hand," said Dr Subramania Iyer, head and neck surgeon who led the team of 20 surgeons and eight anaesthetics.

Rahim had defused nearly 2,000 land mines in his life. "We had defused 30 mines on the day. The 31st one burst in my hand. It was remote-controlled and the man who activated it got Rs 40 lakh for maiming me," he said.

The search for a donor began three years ago. "President Karzai had promised all help.

I went to Iran, but could not get a donor. After looking at the options of Germany, America and India, I reached New Delhi, where I was told about doctors at Amrita hospital," he said.

The doctors here were not sure of finding a donor. "The rules demand that priority should be given to local patients. When the family of 54-year-old T G Joseph, a braindead person, agreed to donate his hands, we called the patient on the waitlist. They were not ready and thus Rahim got it," Dr Iyer said.

Rahim will have to stay in India for a year to undergo a 10-month physiotherapy and follow-up treatment. . "We are working on the logistics, including training a doctor from there. We are looking at how we can help that country, which has many such cases," Dr Iyer said.