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The BBC's John McIntyre
"His doctors claim he failed to take his medication causing his body to start rejecting his hand"
 real 56k

Transplant surgeon Dr Nadey Hakim
"Mr Hallam had no choice but to have it (the hand) amputated"
 real 28k

Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 11:44 GMT
Surgeons sever transplant hand
Clint Hallam
Mr Hallam had long called for the hand to be removed
The world's first hand transplant patient has had the limb amputated after appealing to surgeons to cut it off.

He said it was like a dead man's hand with no feeling in it.

I'm convinced that there has come a stage with the number of rejections that I have experienced that my body or my mind has said 'enough is enough'

Clint Hallam
The hand was removed at a hospital in London on Saturday using delicate microsurgery.

On the eve of the operation, New Zealander Clint Hallam, 50, who received the new hand in a ground-breaking operation in 1998, told the BBC that his body and mind had said "enough is enough".

Mr Hallam told BBC Newsnight that his body had finally rejected the hand, although it had functioned well for the first 12 months after the operation.

He denied doctors' charges that the hand - which had previously belonged to a motorcyclist killed in an accident - had been rejected because of he had failed to take proper care of the limb.

'Mentally detached'

Doctors who carried out the operation in France complained that he had not followed their orders and had failed to complete his course of anti-rejection drugs.

Australian microsurgeon Earl Owen, who co-led the team that performed the transplant, said the feeling in Mr Hallam's hand just before the amputation was good but movement was hampered because of lack of exercise.

But Mr Hallam, who lost his original right hand in an accident with a circular saw 16 years ago, says he undertook a strict regime to ensure the hand as not rejected and only gave up the medicine to overcome a bout of flu.

Last year, Mr Hallam begged doctors to remove the hand, saying he felt "mentally detached" from it.

His request was turned down by the French doctor who co-led the surgical team on the grounds that the body was inviolable under French law.

At the time, Mr Hallam told a newspaper in London that he often kept the hand hidden because it is so unsightly.

The transplanted hand was wider and longer than his own, the flesh a different colour and the skin flaky.

A number of successful hand-transplant operations - including a double hand transplant - have been performed since 1998.

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See also:

02 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
First hand transplant in doubt
25 Sep 98 | Health
'World's first hand transplant'
28 Feb 99 | Health
Transplant first in Japan
01 Oct 98 | Health
From hand to face
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