Two Years After World’s First Double Hand Transplant: “I Can Wrap My Hands Around My Mom”
**UPDATE**: It’s been two years since the first child to receive a double hand transplant, Zion, returned home in late August 2015. His doctor described as a “very spiritual little boy,” and a hard worker, worked for hours each day after school at rehabilitation of his hand for several years to gain true functionality.
“Being able to wrap them around my mom,” Harvey told theToday Show when asked his favorite thing about receiving the transplant.
It’s been 13 months since Harvey underwent the groundbreaking procedure. And the little boy can throw a football, feed himself a slice of pizza and hold his 3-year-old sister Zoé.
“This last year has been like a rollercoaster,” he told Today. “Up, down, fast, slow. It’s just been crazy.”
Zion Harvey, now nine years old, lost his arms and legs to a severe infection at age two. He received his new hands during an 11-hour operation in early July at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and since has been doing physical and occupational therapy several times a day, NBC News reported.
He has made significant progress and went home from the hospital on Wednesday.
“He’s just a remarkable lad. Today he was playing with his action figures and baking cookies with a whisk, doing all sorts of things with his hands we never dreamed he would be able to do within a few weeks of surgery,” transplant team lead surgeon Dr. Scott Levin told NBC News.
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A young Baltimore boy has two new transplanted hands to replace ones he lost to amputation five years ago, his doctors announced Tuesday.
Zion Harvey, 8, became the recipient of the world’s first double hand transplant performed on a child, following 10 hours of surgery by a 40-person team in early July at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Zion already can move and flex his new thumbs and fingers, and is taking part in rehab to regain further dexterity, said Dr. Scott Levin, chair of orthopaedic surgery at Penn Medicine and director of the hospital’s hand transplantation program.
“We’ve been doing this since 1998, but in adults. This type of transplant has never been done in a child,” Levin said. “It’s taken us 17 years to move from adult to child, and in this little 8-year-old boy, Zion Harvey, this was a historic moment that demonstrated it was possible.”
Zion’s mother, Pattie Ray, called the transplant a “modern miracle,” and said her son is already out of bed, mostly healed and off pain medication.
“He’s looking forward to getting back to sports with his rough friends,” Ray said, chuckling. “He wants to have a party when he goes home and invite all his friends so he can show off his hands.”