Video: Boy (8) becomes the world’s youngest double hand transplant recipient
Published 29/07/2015 | 13:20
An eight-year-old child has become the youngest person to undergo a double hand transplant in history after surgery in Philadelphia USA.
Zion Harvey (8) from Maryland was the focus of a press conference on Tuesday at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where the unpublicised transplant took place earlier this month.
The child is still heavily bandaged but the 11-hour surgery has been deemed a success.
Describing the feeling of waking up with hands, Zion said it felt “weird at first, but then good”.
The 40 person team involved in the surgery used steel plates and screws to attach the donor hands to Zion’s limbs and carefully attached his arteries, veins and nerves to his body.
"He woke up smiling," said Dr L. Scott Levin, who lead Zion’s complicated surgery.
"There hasn't been one whimper, one tear, one complaint."
Zion lost both hands after he contracted sepsis as a toddler, and had his feet amputated by age four. Zion was also the recipient of a kidney, which was donated to him by his mother.
Doctors are hopeful that the transplant will give Zion greater mobility and allow him to fulfil dreams of climbing on monkey bars and throwing a football. To walk, Zion uses the help of prosthetics.
"It was no more of a risk than a kidney transplant," his mother, Pattie Ray, said speaking at a press conference held yesterday.
"So I felt like I was willing to take that risk for him, if he wanted it."
Although several people in the US have undergone double hand and arm transplants, Zion is the youngest person to have undergone the procedure.
As Zion was already taking anti-rejection drugs for his donated kidney, he was an ideal candidate for the surgery.