Double hand transplant performed on child

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An 8-year-old American boy who lost his hands and feet to a serious infection has become the youngest patient to receive a double-hand transplant.

Zion Harvey’s forearms were still heavily bandaged but his hands were visible as he flashed some big smiles for the camera at a hospital news conference. He described waking up with new hands as “weird at first, but then good.”

Zion received the transplant earlier this month at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but doctors did not tell the public about the nearly 11-hour operation until this week.

A medical team made up of 40 people used steel plates and screws to attach the old and new bones. Surgeons then painstakingly reconnected Zion’s arteries, veins, muscles, tendons and nerves.

Zion contracted an infection called sepsis as a toddler. This caused multiple organ failure and forced the amputation of his hands and feet.

Leg prosthetics have allowed Zion to be very active, including walking, running and jumping. Doctors hope he’ll now be able to achieve his goals such as throwing a football and playing on the monkey bars.



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