MEXICO CITY – A Mexican man whose arms were severely burned by electricity became the first patient in Latin America to receive a double arm transplant, doctors said Thursday.
Gabriel Granados, a 52-year-old father of two whose arms were amputated just below the elbow, received the arms of a 34-year-old shooting victim, said Dr. Martin Iglesias, head of the surgical team that performed the operation.
Granados told a news conference that the transplant was "terrific" and that he has begun to feel his new hands.
"This is wonderful that after being without hands for some time, all of a sudden I see new hands," said Granados, who is an agent in the financial unit of Mexico City's prosecutors' office.
The surgery was in early May, but Granados was discharged from the hospital on Thursday. Doctors said he has recovered well.
Granados' arms were amputated after they were badly burned in January 2011, when he received an electrical shock while giving instructions to a group of construction workers building a fence.
Before the surgery, doctors say they practiced the procedure on corpses.
"This is a very special day for Mexico from a scientific point of view," said Dr. Fernando Gabilondo, director of Mexico City's National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran, where the surgery was performed.
Mexican doctors say there are other 23 patients waiting for arms transplant although only six could be successfully done.