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Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 00:09 GMT
Arm transplant man 'cannot afford drugs'
Clint Hallam
Mr Hallam asked his surgeon to remove the transplant
The first recipient of an arm transplant cannot afford the anti-rejection drugs he needs to ensure his health, his surgeon has warned.

Clint Hallam, from New Zealand, made medical history in 1998 when the hand of a dead motorcyclist was transplanted onto his forearm.


It was a breakthrough in medicine and it must not fail because of money

Surgeon Nadey Hakim
Surgeon Nadey Hakim, who performed the operation in France, said Mr Hallam cannot meet the 10,000-a-year drugs bill to ensure the transplant remains a success.

The surgeon, from St Mary's Hospital in London, said if Mr Hallam did not take the drugs his body would reject the arm, which could lead to life-threatening complications.

'Health at risk'

He said his patient visited him in London on Saturday with the intention of having the limb amputated, but later decided to continue taking his medication and resume his physiotherapy.

Amputee
Other hand transplants have since been performed
Mr Hakim said: "The patient has admitted not taking any anti-rejection therapy for a period exceeding three weeks which is detrimental to any organ transplant.

"The reason given was financial. Surprisingly the patient was found to be healthy."

Mr Hakim has appealed to the drugs companies which manufacture the treatment to consider offering the medication free of charge.

He said: "This man must be helped to keep his arm. It was a breakthrough in medicine and it must not fail because of money."

Mr Hallam was recently reported to have told a British newspaper he felt "mentally detached" from his hands and wanted surgeons to cut it off.

The patient, who lost his original right hand in an accident with a circular saw 16 years ago, told The Times he felt "more handicapped than before".

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See also:

21 Oct 00 | Europe
Second-hand limb rejected
02 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
First hand transplant in doubt
25 Sep 98 | Health
'World's first hand transplant'
01 Oct 98 | Health
From hand to face
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