By Jen Jenkins, Market Analyst
We are inundated by new technologies and on an almost daily basis learn of awe-inspiring events in the medical and scientific communities; nevertheless, it remains a momentous occasion when something happens that will so radically change a person’s life. Eight-year-old Zion Harvey, who lost his arms and legs to a life-threatening infection at the age of two, made his way home this week with a brand new pair of hands. Under the care of Dr. Scott Levin and a transplant team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Zion became the first child to ever receive a double hand transplant.
The history of this extensive operation is a short one. The first single hand transplant to achieve prolonged success was performed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1999. Since that time there have been hand transplants performed on adults around the world; however, that list of completed surgeries is still relatively short.
Zion endured 11 hours of surgery and has had extensive physical and occupational therapy several times a day since the July surgery, but there are still many challenges he will continue to face. After not having use of these extremities for years, Zion will need to reengage his brain to use his hands to their full ability. Despite that, Dr. Levin shared with NBC News just how remarkable this boy is: “Today he was playing with his action figures and baking cookies with a whisk, doing all sorts of things with his hands we never dreamed he would be able to do within a few weeks of surgery.” See the full story here.
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