Richard Mangino is a miracle man. He's the recipient of a rare double hand transplant.
The 65-year-old grandfather lost both hands and both legs 10 years ago after a sepsis infection attacked his limbs. He wants hands now for the simplest of reasons.
Mangino became incredibly adept at using his artificial limbs. He even continued painting, but after his wife saw a story on the news about face transplants performed at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, she told him, "I've made an appointment for you."
The hospital has conducted four face transplants in recent years—most famously that of Charla Nash, the woman attacked by a chimp.
Richard Mangino's operation took more than 12 hours and a team of 40 doctors.
At a press conference, a doctor explained, "What we did was to take a donor forearm and hands, and reattach these to Mr. Mangino."
The team knew the transplant was going well when they could see blood flowing into the hands.
"This is always an absolutely amazing moment for all of us in the operating room," said the doctor.
Mangino already has slight sensation in the hands, and doctors hope the new limbs will be fully functional within two years. Mangino says it's a miracle.
"I feel a sensation," said Mangino as someone touched his new hand.
Mangino recognized the sacrifice a family made in donating their deceased loved one's hands. A letter from the wife of the donor was read Friday.
A spokesman read this excerpt from the letter: "My husband was always willing to pitch in, professionally, personally. Even helping people he didn't really know."
Mangino thanked the family, saying, "First, I must express my deep gratitude to the donor family. They are, and always will be in my prayers. My family and I grieve for the loss of your loved one. I am humbled and overwhelmed with emotion. Thank you for this incredible gift."
A small sign that things are going well is the fingernails on his new hands are already growing.