By Remy Servis
This week, a team of doctors at The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania announced that they had completed the world’s first pediatric dual hand transplant on Zion Harvey, an eight year old from Maryland, earlier this month. After he lost his hands and feet to an infection at the age of two, Zion had been living a very active, healthy life with prosthetic limbs. However, the new hands open up a wide world of opportunities for the optimistic boy.
The 11-hour surgery, which required a team of 40 medial persons as well as 12 surgeons, carefully reconnected new bones, nerves, skin, and muscles to Zion’s existing tissues. Despite the marathon operation, Zion came out smiling and grateful, thanking his doctors and family for all the support. Zion had previously received a kidney transplant at the age of four, due to repercussions of the same infection that had claimed his limbs. Because of the transplant, Zion has been and will continue to be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of his life.
This new case brings even more light to the rapidly improving field of non-traditional transplants, such as limbs, scalps, or other tissues. The relative ease and success of this procedure gives hope to other patients, both pediatric and adult alike, that limb transplants will be a more common, run-of-the-mill procedure in the near future.
Aside from the chance of rejection, doctors express confidence for Zion’s future. The hands will grow normally as his body grows, and he should have substantial ability and normal functioning with the new limbs. Zions have dreams to throw a football and play with his sister. After all he’s been through, the thing Zion is most looking forward to is playing with his new puppy. “You don’t have to walk it. I will take care of it,” he promised his mother.
To read the full ABC News article, click here.