At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a team of surgeons recently reached a medical milestone. In early July, they successfully completed the world’s first double hand transplant on a child.
Eight-year-old Zion Harvey had contracted sepsis at just two years old, and doctors were forced to amputate both his hands and feet. Since then, Zion had received prosthetics for his feet and was able to walk – but he wasn’t sure he’d ever have comparable replacements for his hands.
Then, about a month ago, a suitable donor was found through the Gift of Life Donor Program, and everything fell into place for Zion.
“As with all types of transplant, surgeries such as this one could not take place without the generosity of a donor and a donor family,” said Richard Hasz, the Vice President of Clinical Services for Gift of Life. “We thank them for their selflessness and for their gift that made this surgery possible.”
A team of 40 doctors then performed a grueling, 10-plus hour surgery to connect Zion’s new hands. He’s remained incredibly grounded about the procedure, telling reporters, “I’m the same person who I still used to be, but with some cool new hands.”
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Now, Zion will have a chance to do anything that he dreams, including “play monkey bars and football,” according to his mother.
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