Outlook Improves for Guðmundur Felix

guðmundur felix

Following four surgeries in the past week, Guðmundur Felix’s infections show signs of lessening. The operations seem to be cause for hope, with Guðmundur Felix stating that he expects to keep his arms.

“This isn’t completely finished, but there are indications that it’s heading in the right direction,” Guðmundur Felix stated to RÚV. “I have, at least temporarily, overcome this uncertainty.”

Read more: Guðmundur Felix May Lose His Arms A Second Time

Guðmundur Felix expressed his concern that he may lose his arms a second time last week, when an infection caused him and his medical team to suspect that his body had begun rejecting his arms. After losing both arms to a severe electric shock, his 2021 surgery was one of the world’s first double arm transplants.

His most recent symptoms included swelling in his arms, loosening fingernails, and spots on his arms that may have been an immune response. Following steroid injections under his fingernails, his condition did not improve much, and two weeks ago Guðmundur Felix noticed red spots that had formed on his hands.

Last week, the spots had multiplied significantly. Guðmundur Felix stated to RÚV that it was a clear indication of an allergic reaction. He sent a picture to his medical team, who brought him in for immediate treatment. At the hospital, his team determined that his body was rejecting his arm and began treatment immediately.

He was promptly placed on an aggressive regimen of steroids meant to suppress his immune system for some time. Guðmundur Felix received his last dose of these steroids last Friday. During the night, he woke up with pain in his elbow and noticed that his arm was swelling.

Because of this significant immune suppression, he contracted a serious infection in his arm. In order to ease the swelling, his arm was opened with an incision, which will be surgically narrowed in the coming days. His team expects that the incision can be fully closed in the coming week. Guðmundur Felix is undergoing surgery on Tuesday, where it will be examined. He then needs to be on antibiotics until May 20.

“The worst thing we can do is to do this too quickly. It’s possible that something small could be trapped inside and cause an infection,” he stated.

[visual-link-preview encoded=”eyJ0eXBlIjoiaW50ZXJuYWwiLCJwb3N0IjoxNTA2NjQsInBvc3RfbGFiZWwiOiJQb3N0IDE1MDY2NCAtIFRoZSBSaWdodCB0byBCZWFyIEFybXMiLCJ1cmwiOiIiLCJpbWFnZV9pZCI6MTUwNjY2LCJpbWFnZV91cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5pY2VsYW5kcmV2aWV3LmNvbS93cC1jb250ZW50L3VwbG9hZHMvMjAyMi8xMC9Gb3JzaWRhLmpwZyIsInRpdGxlIjoiVGhlIFJpZ2h0IHRvIEJlYXIgQXJtcyIsInN1bW1hcnkiOiIiLCJ0ZW1wbGF0ZSI6InNwb3RsaWdodCJ9″]

 

Although it’s been a particularly difficult couple of weeks for Guðmundur Felix, he reiterated his gratitude for his family and all the support he has received from his fellow Icelanders.

“I have a wonderful wife, a wonderful mother, daughters and friends. That’s invaluable when you’re dealing with a situation like this,” he said.

 

Guðmundur Felix May Lose His Arms A Second Time

guðmundur felix

Guðmundur Felix, an Icelander famous for being the recipient of one of the world’s first-ever double arm transplants, may be in danger of losing his arms for a second time.

While working as an electronics engineer in 1998, Guðmundur Felix received a high-voltage shock while working on power lines. Suffering an 8 metre [26 foot] fall, he broke his back and fractured his neck and ribs. Following a period of unconsciousness, he awoke to find that his arms had been amputated.

In January 2021, however, he was one of the first people in the world to receive a double-arm transplant. He currently lives in Lyon in France, where he has found a medical team that specialises in such operations.

Read more: Guðmundur Felix Talks About His Arm Transplant

Now, unfortunately, he may be in danger of losing his arms again.

Guðmundur Felix’s full statement can be found below on social media.

 

Approximately a year and a half after his surgery, his body may be rejecting his arms. Guðmundur Felix began noticing tell-tale signs of the rejection recently, which included red spots on his arms and fingernails falling out.

Generally, such rejections of transplanted limbs occur sooner after the surgery, but late rejections are not unheard of.

In his statement, he also said that he is currently on a strong regimen of steroids that acts as a “bomb” on his immune system, which may suppress his body’s rejection of the limb.

 

Orthopedist: Surgical Waiting Lists for Children “Unacceptable”

Press photo of the year 2020

An orthopedist at Landspítalinn hospital has told the Minister of Health that surgical waiting lists for children are unacceptable. “I can’t get them into surgery within an acceptable time frame,” Sigurveig Pétursdóttir told Willum Þór Þórsson during an annual meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association in October.

“I’m on my knees”

Sigurveig Pétursdóttir, 64, has been employed as a doctor for 38 years. She’s spent 30 years working with disabled children as a paediatric orthopedist. At an annual meeting of the Icelandic Medical Association, held on October 14, Sigurveig told Minister of Health Willum Þór Þórsson that the state of the hospital “has never been worse.”

Read More: Mass Resignations at the University Hospital

“I’ve got children who’ve waited a year,” she called out from the assembly hall, according to a transcript of the meeting published by the Icelandic Medical Journal: “A disabled child who walks with one leg crooked for an entire year because there’s no space in the operating room. And why is there no space? Well, because the staff has quit. It’s not a matter of not having the staff. They quit. The hospital’s a mess. It’s a mess right now. It’s not going to become a mess tomorrow. It didn’t happen yesterday.”

Sigurveig preempted familiar bureaucratic talking points with the statement that all talk of analysis and assessment was unacceptable: “I’ve heard it a hundred times, but the situation has never been worse than now,” she stated. “It means nothing to me, being told that I did so well during the pandemic, not having missed a day of work.”

“I’m on my knees,” she continued. “I’m giving up, and I’m not the kind of person who gives up when things get rough. But no one will be able to walk in my shoes. No one!”

Increased funding required

Those present at the annual meeting urged the government to heed the will of the public and to increase healthcare funding. They also announced their disappointment in next year’s budget bill, urged healthcare institutions to ensure the safety of their staff, and called for actions to be taken to deal with the failing health of doctors and the growing number of healthcare professionals who are resigning from their jobs.

In late October, sixteen middle managers employed at the National University Hospital of Iceland received letters of termination. The terminations stemmed from the adoption of a new organisational chart intended to improve the hospital’s operations.

“The main purpose is to get a handle on the hospital’s management and operations, to strengthen our clinical services, and to harmonise other key services,” Runólfur remarked in an interview with RÚV.

Long Waits for Gender Confirmation Surgery in Iceland

No gender confirmation surgeries have been performed in Iceland since 2020, Fréttablaðið reports. Trans people in the country who request surgery face a long wait. Bríet Blær Jóhannsdóttir, a 27-year-old trans woman who has been on the waitlist for 65 weeks, argues that gender confirmation surgery should be formally classified as urgent.

Bríet requested to be placed on the waiting list for gender confirmation surgery in November 2020. “I [was] told that no surgeries had been performed that year, 2020. But they were working on performing four surgeries in December, I get this information in November.” In January 2022, Bríet learned that no further gender confirmation surgeries had been performed in Iceland since December 2020, meaning her wait would be extended even further. The news was hard to bear.

“In my opinion, trans people are very vulnerable, this is a very vulnerable group in society, based on what we have had to endure throughout our lives and how difficult this process is,” Bríet says. “Then to get this slap in the face, that after a year of waiting there is still a two-year wait – the only thing that comes to mind is a gut punch.”

Waiting periods stretch process to three years

Bríet says that the whole gender transitioning process in Iceland is very long and full of obstacles in Iceland, and has been so since before the pandemic. “It starts with six months of doctor’s appointments to confirm that the individual is physically, mentally, and socially in a good enough place to start the process in the first place,” she stated. “That’s followed by a pointless six-month waiting period before you can start on hormones. Then a year after that you go on a waiting list for surgery, a wait that takes a year. So it takes three whole years, before COVID.”

“Can I live for two more years?”

Bríet says that gender confirmation surgery is not formally defined as urgent in Iceland, but says that classification is wrong. “From the point of view of mental health, it’s something that has to happen. I can only speak for myself when it comes to this, but when I got the news [about the additional two-year wait], I just thought: Can I live for two more years? It’s really difficult, to have to wait like this.”

Not receiving the surgery affects her relationships, what activities she participates in, and travel abroad, Bríet says, in addition to increasing the chances of experiencing harassment and assault. “There are so many things that are difficult for trans people to live with today. But surgery is something that is possible to act on, now. It’s not possible to change how people view trans people all at once, but it’s possible to help with [surgery].”