Heart and spirit of 8-year-old double hand transplant recipient grabbing the attention of many

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A team of doctors at Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has successfully performed the world’s first double hand transplant on a child.

The surgery itself is miraculous, but it’s the heart and spirit of the little recipient grabbing the attention of so many.

A lack of hands didn’t hold 8-year-old Zion Harvey back from much.

He loves playing guitar, foosball and even peek-a-boo with his little sister.

Doctors were forced to amputate both his hands and feet at age 2 to save his life from a severe infection.

He also endured a kidney transplant, with the organ donated by his primary caregiver, his mother.

The fact that he was already on anti-rejection drugs from the kidney transplant, coupled with an amazingly upbeat attitude, made Zion the perfect candidate for the world’s first pediatric double hand transplant.

Lead by Dr. Scott Levin, it took a team of 40 doctors, nurses and others to perform the nearly 11 hour surgery.

“We had to be very careful that when we attached the donor hand to Zion that we did not violate or injure the growth plates, because we want his hands to grow and lengthen, which we have every belief that they will do that,” Dr. Levin said.

Now several weeks after the surgery, Zion is working hard to move his new hands. He should be able to feel with them within the next six to nine months.

 

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