Tags: zion harvey | hand | transplant

Zion Harvey: 8-Year-Old Youngest to Ever Receive Double Hand Transplant

Image: Zion Harvey: 8-Year-Old Youngest to Ever Receive Double Hand Transplant
(Associated Press)

By    |   Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 01:52 PM

Zion Harvey was the youngest double-hand transplant recipient in the world when he underwent surgery earlier this month, and surgeons announced Tuesday that the procedure was successful.

Harvey, 8, from Baltimore, lost both of his hands and feet when he contracted sepsis at age 2 and experienced multiple organ failures, The Associated Press reported. When he was 4, he received a kidney transplant from his mother, and leg prosthetics have enabled Zion to engage in many activities. Even bullying did not faze the eternally grinning boy.

“They don't mean to say mean things to me, but it just slips out,” Harvey said, according to CNN. “Somebody says something to me, and I just figure it slipped out and they didn't mean to say it.”

Although he was able to use his stumps to write, play video games, eat meals, play foosball, scroll through an iPad, and strum a mandolin, Harvey could not fulfill his goals of throwing a football and swinging from the monkey bars on the playground.

Because he had been already taking immunosuppressants due to his kidney transplant, the surgeons believed that the chances his body would reject new hands was low, and his name was added to the waiting list, according to ABC News.

“When I get these hands I will be proud of the hands I get,” Harvey said in a video released by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If it gets messed up, I don’t care because I have my family.”

Although several adults in the U.S. have received double-hand transplants since the surgery began in 1999, no children as young as Harvey have been recorded as undergoing the same surgery, according to the AP. But after an intense 11-hour surgery with a 40-person medical team on duty, steel plates and screws were attached from the new bones to the old ones, and Zion’s arteries, veins, muscles, tendons, and nerves were all carefully connected.

When he appeared on Tuesday at the hospital press conference, his brand-new hands were visible from his heavily bandaged arms, and he flashed a wide grin at those assembled.

“I think the difference is finding a family who has the courage to relinquish the arms of a child who just died and give hope and life and quality of life to a child who's still living,” said Dr. L. Scott Levin, one of Harvey's surgeons, according to CBS Philly.

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Zion Harvey was the youngest double-hand transplant recipient in the world when he underwent surgery earlier this month, and surgeons announced Tuesday that the procedure was successful.
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2015-52-30
Thursday, 30 Jul 2015 01:52 PM
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