Surgeons have successfully performed the first double hand transplant on eight-year-old Zion Harvey at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the US, just four years after the same surgical team performed the procedure on an adult patient in 2011.
A team of 40 physicians, nurses and surgeons from CHOP and Penn Medicine carried out the 10-hour surgical procedure earlier this month.
Zion, who’d had both his hands and feet amputated and later a kidney transplant due to a severe infection, waited three months after being put on the wait-list for a donor to come through.
“Each year, there are only 15 children, based on the databases, that would even be eligible to donate hands,” says lead surgeon L. Scott Levin in the Children’s Hospital video that tells the story of Zion’s transplant. “And then it comes down to the organ procurement organisations approaching families at a terrible time – the loss of a child. So the fact that he was put on the waiting list for hands in April, and three months later, this came along – that in and of itself is a remarkable story.”
Check out the video to watch the full story of bright little Zion and his new hands.
Megan Toomey is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne.
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