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10 January 2019, 06:42
A quadruple amputee who had been desperately seeking a double hand transplant has successfully undergone the surgery after a five-year wait.
Surgeons at Leeds General Infirmary carried out the complicated 12-hour procedure on Corinne Hutton, 47, earlier this week, her charity Finding Your Feet has announced.
The single mother, from Renfrewshire in Scotland, lost her hands and feet in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis, which nearly killed her.
Experts had been working to find suitable hands that were a match for the former businesswoman, who has campaigned to help raise awareness of organ and limb donation.
After more than a dozen false alarms over the years, she was informed this week that a match for her own blood group, skin tone and hand size had been found.
Finding Your Feet said she was taken by ambulance from her home in Lochwinnoch to the hospital in West Yorkshire, where the surgery began at around 1pm on Monday.
The team working on the procedure included Professor Simon Kay, who was given an OBE in the New Year Honours list, and Professor Andrew Hart from Scotland, who performed the surgery to remove her hands and lower legs in 2013 and has since become her close friend.
Prof Kay, who led the team, performed the first double hand transplant in the UK in 2016, and Ms Hutton was his sixth procedure.
He said: "Corinne is one of the most positive, resilient and determined people I have met and despite all the hurdles she has faced she has now got the hands she wishes for.
"She didn't go into this lightly, she researched it deeply and understood the risks as well as the benefits.
"She realises what a remarkable life-affirming gift she has received from an unknown family devastated by grief and I know she will be forever grateful.
"I know all of the very large and professional team here at Leeds General Infirmary have been delighted that she finally found a match and has the hands, and we are all proud to be part of the team that provides this surgery."
The surgeon has also urged people to consider organ donation and to discuss their wishes with their family.
Before she fell ill and was given a 5% chance of survival, Ms Hutton, who has one son, ran her own graphics company in Glasgow.
She now devotes her life to the charity she founded to support amputees throughout the UK.
Ms Hutton has since become the first female quadruple amputee to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, climbed Ben Nevis, abseiled, cycled around the Isle of Arran, taken up skiing and done ballroom dancing lessons.
The charity has so far raised more than £700,000 through fundraising and donations.
In 2016 she also posed nude, with her body painted with organs and tissue that are deemed transplantable in a bid to help raise awareness of transplant issues.
The first woman to receive a double hand transplant in the UK was Tanya Jackson, who was motivated to go for the procedure after seeing Ms Hutton on television.
A spokesman for Finding Your Feet thanked those who have supported Ms Hutton throughout her journey.
He said: "Cor was close to losing hope about finding a match for a transplant, but that's not her style.
"She has accomplished an unbelievable amount since losing her limbs, and we're certain she'll continue to inspire people as she builds up strength and learns to use her new hands.
"It's bittersweet, because transplants require a donor. That person and her family have changed the lives of many today, and made it possible for a mum to hold her son's hand again. Cor will not waste a moment with what they've given her."