United States: Zion, who has had two hand transplants, can write

Publié le 31 Jul, 2017

Zion Harvey had his hands and feet amputated and his kidneys removed as a young child following septicaemia. He had already undergone a kidney transplant several years ago and was taking anti-rejection medication. Then, in July 2015, at the age of 8, he had two hand transplants.


This was a “ten-hour procedure” involving “forty doctors” in the United States (see United States: 8 year-old Zion undergoes double hand transplant).


Zion was able to move his fingers within days of undergoing a double hand transplant. “Following nerve regrowth, the child was able to contract his hand muscles and experience touch six months later. He was then able to feed himself and hold a pen to write. Eight months later, he could use scissors and pencils. One year on from transplant surgery, he could hold a baseball bat with both hands. “


“After months of therapy and psychological support, the 10 year-old American boy overcame difficult periods in the first 18 months including aggressive treatments to avoid graft rejection, and made major efforts to learn how to use his new hands,”  explained authors of the medical report. He is still taking four different immunosuppressant drugs to maximise the chances of his body continuing to tolerate his new hands.


Doctors hope to reduce the dose.


Zion says he doesn’t feel different: “The only difference is that instead of having no hands, I now have two hands. I’m still the same boy everyone knew with no hands“.


For further reading:

ABM seminars – hand transplants, uterus transplants: state of play


7sur7.be (19/07/2017) ; la Presse.ca (18/07/2017) ; Sciencesetavenir.fr (19/07/2017) ; the Guardian, Denis Campbell (18/07/2017) ; Le Figaro, Soline Roy (19/07/2017) ; Dailymail, Mia de Graaf (18/07/2017)

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