GoFundMe photo, Rick Thompson.

B.C. man to receive first double hand transplant in Canada

B.C. man will likely make medical history by becoming the first recipient of a double-hand transplant in Canada.

According to CTV News, Rick Thompson, a Coquitlam resident, had both of his hands and legs amputated in 2015 after contracting bacterial meningitis.

“The doctors gave us three hours to decide. I could either face the amputations and survive or go to palliative care and eventually pass on,” he said. “It was a decision that would save my life.”

Since then Thompson has managed to learn how to walk again and complete everyday tasks with advanced prosthetic limbs, but he said nothing compares to the real thing.

He’s started campaigning to have a double hand transplant after being deemed an ideal candidate for the surgery.

The initial procedure involves reconnecting muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which doctors say is fairly complicated.

There’s only been one other case of a hand transplant surgery that’s been completed in Canada.  The recipient told CTV in 2016 that it allowed her to regain her ability to drive, cook her own meals and do household chores.

Thompson said he plans to move to London, Ont., to wait for a donor where the surgery will take place.

“For me, the pros outweigh the cons, and if I can get 50 to 70 per cent function from transplanted hands, then I’m going to go for it,” he said.

“It’s also a gift that someone’s family is going to be willing to make that sacrifice and that decision at that time they will allow you to have their son’s, their father’s hands.”