Hand transplants started in the West almost 22 years ago, but are neglected in India, with More’s being only the 12th in the country.
More told mediapersons on Saturday she is living the dream her father wanted for her since she lost her hands after falling into the gap between a train and a platform at Ghatkopar station in 2014.
“It will take me another year to be able to use my hands fully well, and I plan to be disciplined with my medication and physiotherapy in order to ensure that,” she said before her discharge from Global Hospital, Parel.
As More’s hospital bill was Rs 36 lakh, plastic surgeon Dr Nilesh G Satbhai, who performed the transplant on August 28, has started a crowdfunding effort. “She has received some donations and the hospital will help out too,” said hospital CEO Vivek Talaulikar. More will also need financial assistance as her immune-suppressants and physiotherapy alone would cost Rs 20,000 a month.
More registered for a transplant two years back but couldn’t get any donors. “Hands are an external organ and families are reluctant to donate them,” said Dr Satbhai.
More’s luck changed when a software professional’s family agreed to donate his hands after he was declared brain dead in Global Hospital, Chennai. Her transplant lasted 16 hours and she was kept in a separate room for the next four weeks to reduce the risk of Covid. She could speak to her family only on video chat.
“She was given physiotherapy twice a day along with breathing and shoulder exercises. She initially had a plaster slab above the elbow to support the bones, and will need splints for more than a month now,” said the doctor.
More will be able to move her fingers after three months when the nerves heal. “I will have to stay home and avoid visitors as I am on immunosuppressants. I can only travel between home and hospital,” said More.
More added, “Earlier, I would avoid attending functions or weddings as I couldn’t apply mehendi on my hands. But after my hands get functional, I will apply mehendi, paint, and do activities such as eating, bathing, combing hair, and cooking on my own. I always wanted to become independent and I am happy that I will be able to do so.”