England

Double hand transplant patient writes letter of thanks

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Media captionChris King writing a letter

The first person in the UK to have a double hand transplant has written a letter of thanks to his surgeon, nine months after his pioneering operation.

Chris King, 57, of Doncaster, lost both hands, except his thumbs, in an accident at work four years ago.

He had the complex operation at Leeds General Infirmary in July.

The Leeds Rhinos fan is also looking forward to being able to clap when he goes to watch the rugby league team.

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Mr King can now do a range of tasks, including writing, making a cup of tea and gardening, and has progressed faster than his surgeon anticipated.

He next hopes to tie his own shoelaces and button up his shirt.

Image copyright Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/PA
Image caption Chris King's left hand before his operation

"It's been going fantastically," he said.

"I can make a fist, I can hold a pen, I can do more or less the same functions as I could with my original hands."

Mr King's accident involved a metal pressing machine and left him close to death.

A team of "unsung heroes" at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital saved his life and enabled the later transplant surgery, he said.

Professor Simon Kay, a consultant plastic surgeon, performed Mr King's double transplant.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Professor Simon Kay performed the double transplant at Leeds General Infirmary

The hospital is hoping the procedure could one day be as routine as a kidney transplant.

Mr King said he wanted to again thank the family of the person who donated the hands.

He also encouraged others to become donors and provide "this wonderful gift".

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