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The BBC's Red Harrison reports
"Doctors have serious concerns about the development of tissue rejection"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
First hand transplant in doubt

The complex elements involved in the operations
A New Zealand man who became the first person in the world to undergo a hand transplant 18 months ago is in danger of losing it.

The 49-year-old man, Clint Hallam, is in hospital in Perth, Western Australia being given intensive treatment for rejection of the hand.

A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed that he was receiving critical medical treatment but gave no further details.

Mr Hallam received the hand of a Franch motorcyclist in a 13-hour operation in the French city of Lyon.

Concern

He had lost his hand in a chain saw accident at a New Zealand prison where he was serving a sentence for fraud.

Since Mr Hallam's operation, doctors in the United States have performed a similar operation, while French surgeons have performed a double arm transplant.

Last year, doctors hailed the world's first hand transplant as a success.

Mr Hallam said afterwards that he could feel pressure in the middle of the palm of his transplanted hand.

He told the Sunday Times newspaper he was already performing simple tasks with the hand, such as holding a cup of coffee.

After the operation, doctors had expressed concern that the transplanted hand would be rejected by the body's immune system, which is programmed to attack and destroy any foreign invaders.

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See also:

25 Sep 98 | Health
'World's first hand transplant'
02 Jan 99 | Health
Transplant baby makes history
28 Feb 99 | Health
Transplant first in Japan
01 Oct 98 | Health
From hand to face
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