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World's first double-leg transplant patient has legs amputated after new illness

The world's first double-leg transplant patient has had both limbs amputated after an unrelated illness forced him to stop taking anti-rejection drugs, the Spanish hospital that carried out the operation said Tuesday.

"The patient who had two legs transplanted at the Hospital La Fe in 2011 had to undergo an operation to amputate the two extremities," said a statement issued by the hospital in Valencia, eastern Spain.

The patient, who contracted an unrelated illness, had the two limbs amputated about a year and a half after the milestone transplant, it said.

He had to stop taking immunosuppressant drugs required to prevent his body rejecting the transplant, because the medicine was complicating the treatment of the illness he contracted, the hospital said.

"In these cases the protocol is that, if the transplanted organ is not a vital organ, it should be removed from the patient so as to allow treatment of the illness that is more serious and urgent."

The patient had not given authority for the release of information about his current treatment, the hospital said.

Renowned surgeon Pedro Cavadas led the team that carried out the original 10-hour transplant operation, which was completed on July 10, 2011.

The double leg surgery was touted as a world first. The patient, a man in his 20s at the time of the operation, had had both legs amputated above the knee after a traffic accident.

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