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Taiwan’s first allogeneic double arm transplant returns to teaching

Quadruple amputee National Sun Yat-sen University business management assistant professor Wang Chih-yuan, right, returns to teaching at the university on Sept. 20.

When National Sun Yat-sen University business management assistant professor Wang Chih-yuan was hiking with his girlfriend in 2015, he contracted an atypical infection that led to multiple organ failure and necrosis in his limbs, all four of which later had to be amputated. He was fitted with electric arms and prosthetic legs, but felt that his arms were not as responsive as he had hoped, and were unable to perform fine movements, making it very difficult to cope with everyday situations. A medical team at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital found him a suitable arm donor, and he became the recipient of Taiwan’s first allogeneic double arm transplant.
The price of receiving an allogeneic transplant is having to take immunosuppressant (anti-rejection) drugs for the rest of one’s life. Before, he was having to take between 30 and 40 pills per day, but now he is down to just over 20 anti-rejection pills a day.
He is now able to stretch his arms back over his shoulders, and can also use a mobile phone with the help of an assistive device. He is working hard on rehabilitation, trying to perform progressively more precise movements. Wang is confident that, through rehabilitation, he will be able to become self-sufficient. He is not beyond finding the funny side of his condition, either, saying that if he ever went to a palm-reader, they would be unlikely to give him a very accurate reading.
(CNA, translated by Paul Cooper)