8-Year-Old Boy Becomes Youngest Patient to Receive Double-Hand Transplant

An eight-year-old Baltimore boy who lost his hands and feet to a life-threatening infection has now become the youngest patient to receive a double hand transplant.

Before going into surgery, the youngster, Zion Harvey, told The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in a video: “When I was two, I had to get my hands cut off because I was sick. I don't know what a child hand looks like.”

The medical staff completed the landmark surgery over 12 hours with 40 people. The family of the donor said they wished to remain anonymous.

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The team used steel plates and screws to join the old and new bones. Surgeons then reconnected Zion’s arteries, veins, muscles, tendons and nerves.

L. Scott Levin, MD, the director of Hand Transplant Program at the hospital, said: “This is a new arena of reconstructive surgery. It is a new area of transplant surgery. It gives new hope to the adults, particularly the children.”

On Tuesday, two weeks after the surgery, Zion showed off his new bandaged arms during a press conference at the hospital.

He described using the hands as "weird at first, but then good."

Dr Levin added: "He woke up smiling. There hasn't been one whimper, one tear, one complaint."

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As a toddler, Zion contracted sepsis and the subsequent multiple organ failure forced doctors to amputate his hands and feet. By the time he was four, he also needed a kidney transplant and received the organ from his mother.

He has had prosthetic legs that have allowed him to be active through the years.

The youngster is now focused on getting another new addition: a puppy.

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