"I'm no longer in pain": Schotte gets new hands transplanted

Steven Gallagher still struggles with buttons, but he can now pour himself a glass of water again.

"I'm no longer in pain": Schotte gets new hands transplanted

Steven Gallagher still struggles with buttons, but he can now pour himself a glass of water again. After a twelve-hour operation, the Scot is happy to have two new hands. The man opted for the spectacular transplant because of an autoimmune disease.

Steven Gallagher, transplant patient, loves his new hands. "These hands are incredible, everything happened so quickly," the 48-year-old told the British news agency PA. "From the moment I woke up from the operation I was able to move it." The Scot is probably the first patient to have both hands transplanted because of the rheumatic autoimmune disease systemic sclerosis. "It gave me a new lease of life," Gallagher said.

He still finds some things difficult. For example, he can't close buttons, but he can pour himself a glass of water. But more important is a basic feeling. "The pain before the operation was terrible. I took so many painkillers, it was unimaginable, and now I have no more pain," said the father of three daughters.

Gallagher was diagnosed with sclerosis 13 years ago after developing an unusual rash on his face. After a few years, his fingers began to curl up. "My hands started closing until it was actually just two fists. My hands were useless, I couldn't do anything except lift things with two hands."

On the advice of specialists and after discussions with his wife, the roofer decided to have the operation. In mid-December 2021, the man from Dreghorn was transplanted with two new hands in a twelve-hour treatment.

Prior to his illness, Gallagher was most recently promoted to deputy site manager. Now he hopes to return to work once his hands have improved sufficiently. He told the PA news agency that he was very grateful to his donor and his family.

(This article was first published on Thursday, May 26, 2022.)

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