Brit woman needing double hand transplant refuses hands of man and black female

A British woman who needs a double hand transplant allegedly refused hands from a man and a black woman.

Kim Smith was warned she would face a longer wait if she will only accept the hands of a white woman.

The 61-year-old former hairdresser lost both her hands and feet after a urinary tract infection led to sepsis.

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The condition left her in a coma for nine weeks following a 2017 holiday to Spain.

Kim was asked whether she would accept the hands of a man or a black woman during a psychological assessment at Leeds Hospital in June 2021.

She said: “It’s just to see whether you’re mentally suitable to have the transplant – they're the type of questions they put at you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you would get men's hands or hands from a black person."

“I had to think about it I'm desperate for hands, but would I?

"No. I don't want to look down at my hands and they don't look like mine, I would want to reject them.

"I want them to be small hands. Before the amputations, I was five foot two inches tall. I had petite hands so the hands should try and match the size as well."

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Kim, from Milton Keynes, explained it was the same reason she would reject a black woman's hands.

She added: "I'm not prejudiced but I'm white I want a white person's hands so they blend in with my skin tone as much as possible."

Kim is now anxiously awaiting a phone call to tell her that a donor has been found and the transplant can go ahead.

She also revealed how her husband Steve Smith, 64, had promised her a new wedding and engagement ring and a Pandora bracelet when she gets her new hands.

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Kim said: "There's no point shopping without the hands- we don't know what size I'll be.

"I still wear my wedding and engagement ring on a chain around my neck but I'm holding him on his promise for new ones!"

Professor Simon Ka, who will potentially carry out the procedure, explained that the patient had to be 'immunologically compatible' with the donor limb so it would not be rejected.

He said: “One of the important things we do is make sure the recipient receives hands they can accept and live with.

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“We all vary enormously to the degree we will accept variations from our own natural appearance.

“If the transplanted hands are not accepted by the recipient there is great potential for psychological rejection leading to non-compliance with immunosuppressive medication and eventually therefore to immunological rejection.

“To avoid this as far as possible we ask each recipient to tell us very candidly what they will and will not accept. We specifically ask about characteristics such as hand size, appearance of age, gender.

“We also ask about skin colour, not in terms of race but in terms of skin tone."


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