Life-changing hand transplant to be shown on BBC documentary

28 February 2023

A new eight-part medical documentary series will start with the story of a hand transplant recipient, who received the life-transforming gift of new arms thanks to the generosity of a donor and their family.

Picture of hand transplant recipient, Jamie, with hands in casts

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the focus of a new eight-part medical documentary series, 'Saving Lives In Leeds'. The first episode will be aired on BBC2 at 9pm on Wednesday 1st March.

Filmed across several months, the series meets a group of world-leading doctors and surgeons at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust highlighting challenging decisions clinicians have to make every day and exploring patients’ emotional journeys and the real impact on their lives and families.

Jamie's incredible story

The first episode will focus on Jamie, the recipient of a double hand transplant. We follow his journey from the initial surgery, through recovery and to his eventual return home to his young daughters.

Picture of Jamie hugging familyStatement from Professor Phil Wood, Chief Executive, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

"Saving Lives in Leeds really shines a light on the outstanding people working at Leeds Teaching Hospitals carrying out remarkable and world-leading surgery. It highlights some of the challenging decisions they make on a day-to-day basis as they work to ensure our patients get the best possible care. It’s been a really positive opportunity for us to explain the complexity behind some of the decisions we take when managing waiting lists and highlight that we always have our patients' best interest at the heart of everything we do".

Statement from Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation

"The gift of donation is the ultimate legacy that a person can leave after their death, saving and transforming the lives of many others – not just the patients whose lives are saved or transformed, but the lives of their families too. The donation of hands gives the patient and their family the ability to touch, hug and hold hands once again, as well as the ability to be independent and complete practical tasks which can often be taken for granted."

"We are immensely proud of all those in our team who have been part of making these transplants happen, but above all, we are grateful to the wonderful donors and their families, whose generosity at the most difficult of times, made these life-transforming transplants possible."

Talk to your loved ones about organ donation

Even though the law around organ donation has changed in England, Scotland and Wales, families will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.

Register your support for organ donation on the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss different forms of donation so your family know what you would want if donation becomes a possibility.

Get more information on the hand transplant programme

Visit the Leeds Hospitals NHS Trust website

Tune in to BBC 2 on Wednesday 1st March to follow Jamie’s story.