One of the first people in the UK to have a double hand transplant said her progress has been “phenomenal” in the two years since the operation.
Cor Hutton, from Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, was the first patient in Scotland and the third in the UK to successfully have the procedure, having had her hands and feet amputated in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis which nearly killed her.
On the second anniversary of the 12-hour operation on January 9 2019, Ms Hutton paid tribute to the donor and the medical team saying she is “very lucky”.
She said: “It’s flown in – I can’t believe how far I’ve come and yet how slow it’s been and how much is still changing every day.”
Ms Hutton was told two months ago she had regained 90 per cent function in her hands, surpassing her surgical team’s goal of 75 per cent.
“For them to work better and better as time goes on is just phenomenal,” she said.
The 50-year-old said touch and feel is the slowest to return due to the rate of nerve growth, but progress in the past year meant she was able to properly wrap presents at Christmas.
She said: “Christmas was big time for learning – using a Sellotape dispenser and using scissors – this year I was actually wrapping presents and tying bows rather than just putting them in bags with tissue paper.”
Ms Hutton said she had feelings of guilt about the donor and their family, saying: “I’ll always be aware of that – while I’m celebrating, someone else’s heart is breaking.
“It makes me think of how brave that family were to make the decision they made and give me the chance I got.”
She has been in touch with the donor’s family, who told her the hands now belong to her.
She added: “I know they are mine but I will never take that for granted and I’ll never disrespect where they came from.”
Ms Hutton has been shielding since the start of the pandemic and now gets support online and over the phone from amputee support charity Finding Your Feet instead of in-person.
“We’re safe and working from home and I’m very, very aware of how lucky we are,” she said.
“There are a lot of people out there facing horrible things and I’m mindful of that. I’ve got so many things to be grateful for.”