Added by David Sandercock on May 2, 2011
A Victorian plumber has become the first recipient of a hand transplant in Australia.
Four years ago 65 year old Paul Walsh, from Cobden in Victoria contracted the pneumococcal bug, which attacked his body so aggressively that his hands and feet were amputated to keep him alive.
Just over a month ago he was given the gift of a new hand after several years without one.
Walsh, nicknamed “Plumber” after his previous profession, survived a week in a coma before waking up to see his hands and feet literally dying in front of him.
“I can handle the feet alright, it’s the hands you know,” he said “You just feel useless.”
However, his luck changed when Melbourne micro surgeon Professor Wayne Morrison found out about his case and then in March a donor hand was found.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling, hoping for redemption but knowing that someone has to die for your dream to come true.”
Despite all the risks associated with the transplant, all is going well for the 65-year-old after more than a month with his new hand.