Icelandic Man Undergoes Double Arm Transplant Surgery

Guðmundur Felix Grétarsson running in Heiðmörk in 2013.

A 48-year old Icelandic man underwent a double arm transplant at the Edouard Harriot hospital in Lyon, France, last Wednesday. The 14-hour operation was technically successful but doctors are waiting to see how the body responds to the transplant before claiming it a complete success.

Guðmundur Felix Grétarsson, who lost both arms in an accident at work more than 20 years ago, underwent a double arm transplant surgery in Lyon, France last Wednesday. The surgery took nearly 15 hours and is the first one ever where two arms are transplanted above the shoulder.

Felix was only 26 and working as an electrician when he lost both arms after receiving a high voltage shock. He is now 48 and moved to Lyon in 2013 to be closer to the hospital in case of an opportunity for the surgery. He has been on a waiting list for five years.

According to local media, the operation was performed using a new technique at the Edouard Herriot hospital. Arm transplants are rare, the first one performed in 1998, and until now, have only been tried below the shoulder. Two teams of surgeons removed the limbs from the donor and another two grafted them to the patient. More than 50 doctors and nurses took part in the over 14-hour operation.

Felix is now in recovery and his condition is stable. He was kept unconscious after the surgery, but his wife Sylwia has confirmed that he is awake and feeling well.

Measles Vaccination Initiative Underway

landspitali national university hospital iceland

3000 doses of measles vaccination have been sent to the country to combat the measles outbreak which started recently. A substantial operation is now underway in both the Reykjavík capital area as well as East Iceland to combat the spread of measles, focusing on 6 to 18-month-old children as well as unvaccinated adults.

The vaccination operation is a preventive measure first and foremost. So far, the operation has been a success, according to Óskar Reykdalsson, head of the health centres in the capital area. Around 1000 individuals were vaccinated in the capital area today. “It went well today. We had 19 health centres open today and we received somewhere around 1000 people. It was mostly children, and some amount of unvaccinated adults, but first and foremost children between six to eighteen months old,” Óskar stated.

Public health services have called for all individuals who have not been vaccinated to head immediately to their closest health center. It is expected that the 3000 vaccination doses will all have been used by the end of the weekend. More doses will be sent to the country in the beginning of next week.

Every person who has not been vaccinated should head to a health centre as soon as possible to get vaccinated for measles. Children that are between six to eighteen months old, along with those born after 1970, will have precedence.

The fifth case of measles in the country has already been confirmed as a kindergarten worker in Egilsstaðir, East Iceland, got infected. The person has now been put into isolation.

Further information in Icelandic about the vaccination initiative can be found here. Measles information is also available by calling the phone number 1700.