A LOCHWINNOCH mum who became the first patient in Scotland to have a double hand transplant has described her progress as "phenomenal" as she continues to pick up new skills two years later.

Cor Hutton, 50, was only the third person in the UK to successfully undergo the procedure, having had her hands and feet amputated in 2013 after suffering acute pneumonia and sepsis which nearly killed her.

Saturday marked the second anniversary of coming round from the 12-hour operation on January 9, 2019 – and Cor used the occasion to pay tribute to the donor and the medical team.

"It's flown in," she said. "I can't believe how far I've come and yet how slow it's been and how much is still changing every day."

Cor was told two months ago she had regained 90% function in her hands, surpassing her surgical team's goal to gain 75%.

"For them to work better and better as time goes on is just phenomenal," she said.

As patients whose hands have been reattached can show improvement up to a decade later, Cor said she has "a lot of faith there's more to come."

She revealed that her sense of touch has been the slowest to return, due to the rate of nerve growth, but progress in the past year meant she was able to properly wrap presents before Santa arrived.

"Christmas was big time for learning, using a Sellotape dispenser and using scissors," said Cor. "This year, I was actually wrapping presents and tying bows, rather than just putting them in bags with tissue paper.

"It's just the things that other people would take for granted. Little things like that, they just give me a wee thrill and that's still happening quite a lot."

Cor also told how she had "instant acceptance" of her new hands after the surgery, which triggered feelings of guilt about the donor and their family.

She said: "I'll always be aware of that – while I'm celebrating, someone else's heart is breaking.

"It makes me think of how brave that family were to make the decision they made and give me the chance I got."

The Gazette: Golf enthusiast Cor Hutton insists she will never take her new hands for grantedGolf enthusiast Cor Hutton insists she will never take her new hands for granted

Cor has been in touch with the donor's family, who told her the hands now belong to her.

She added: "I know they are mine but I will never take that for granted and I'll never disrespect where they came from."

Cor is on long-term immunosuppressant medication and had not experienced any rejection of her new hands since the operation until skin problems meant she spent Hogmanay in hospital.

"I noticed the donor skin had gone very red, speckled and raised," she said. "It was a bit of a panic.

"It was solved with nothing more but heavy medication but it could have been so much worse. It was a wee bit of a scare but I've been really lucky for two years not to have anything."

Cor has been shielding since the start of the pandemic and has had to transform the way her amputee support charity Finding Your Feet works, moving to phone and online help, instead of in-person.

"We're safe and working from home and I'm very, very aware of how lucky we are," she said.

"There are a lot of people out there facing horrible things and I'm mindful of that. I've got so many things to be grateful for."