Double arm transplant recipient thanks doctors

accreditation
Man with arms in the airf from Shutterstock
Man with arms in the airf from Shutterstock


A 40-year-old quadruple amputee has thanked the Boston surgeons who performed a rare dual arm transplant on him last month and described the experience of getting the new limbs as surreal.

Anonymous donor

Will Lautzenheiser, who lost his arms and legs to a streptococcal infection in 2011, said he has limited function in the new arms, which are encumbered by wrappings to help with healing.

The arms were attached from an anonymous donor in a nine-hour operation at Brigham & Women's Hospital.

"I want to thank the doctors for their great service," an emotional Lautzenheiser said at a news conference at the hospital. "I want to thank everyone."

He said having the new limbs was "incredible" and "surreal".

Lautzenheiser, a former professor of film production and screenwriting at Boston University and Montana State University, has a long stretch of therapy ahead but hopes to return to his career.

The family of the anonymous donor told Lautzenheiser in a statement issued Tuesday that it hoped he would make a "wonderful recovery, and that your loved ones will be able to enjoy your warm embrace."

The surgery involved 35 medical staff, including 13 surgeons, according to Brigham & Women's Hospital.

While rare, there have been other double-arm transplants in the United States recent years. In 2012, a U.S. soldier who lost all four limbs in a roadside explosion in Iraq had double-arm transplant surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Read more:

Soldier who lost all limbs gets two arm transplants
Quadruple limb transplant fails
Transplant immunology

Image: Man with arms in the air from Shutterstock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE