8-year-old boy makes history with double hand transplant

By admin
29 July 2014

An eight-year-old boy says he wants to play with a ball, have fun on a jungle gym and hold his baby sister after becoming the first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant.

Zion Harvey underwent the 11-hour operation earlier this month and on Tuesday thanked doctors for helping him on his “bumpy road”. A surgical team of 40 used metal screws and plates to join his bones to the donor bones before joining muscles, nerves, tendons and arteries.

Weeks of physiotherapy lie ahead of Zion before he’ll be able to pick up small objects such as Cheerios and Lego pieces.

The active boy’s hands and feet were amputated when he suffered a severe bacterial infection as a toddler. But with the aid of artificial legs he can walk, run and jump like his friends.

He learnt to write with his forearms and could eat without help and play video games before the transplant at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia, America.

For the rest of his life Zion will have to take medication to suppress his immune system to prevent it rejecting the new hands.

Doctors regarded him as an ideal candidate for the operation because he’d previously taken anti-rejection medication after a kidney transplant.

Sources: The Independent, News.com.au

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