Doctors said about the first child in the world to have a double hand transplant is now able to write, dress, and feed himself independently. And this happens after the 18 months of operation at a US hospital.
The child Zion Harvey, as a toddler lost his feet and hands to a life-threatening sepsis infection that led to multiple organ failures.
At the age of eight, he received two donor hands in an innovative procedure that doctors have confirmed success following month of difficulties and recuperation.
He was persistent to improve his hand function through daily therapy sessions, said by Dr. Sandra Amaral, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Zion was treated.
She said: “Our study shows that hand transplant surgery is possible when carefully managed and supported by a team of surgeons, transplant specialists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation teams, social workers, and psychologists.”
She further added: “While functional outcomes are positive and the boy is benefitting from his transplant, this surgery has been very demanding for this child and his family.”
The first ever medical report of this transplant, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, explained how the new hands were rejected many times by Zion’s body, especially in the year after the transplant.
The amazing hard work of the doctors makes it possible because they managed to reverse the eight rejections, two of which were serious, and controlled by using drugs that overwhelm the immune system.
The child Zion was already taking these immunosuppressive drugs because he has taken one of his mother’s kidney at the age of four in a transplant. The reporter said that this was the reason he was selected for hand surgery.
This was the complex transplant in which four medical teams were involved. And the complex surgery took nearly 11 hours in the month of July 2015.
And just a few days later, Zion was able to move his new fingers and then began rehabilitation therapy through video games and simple exercises using finger lights and puppets. And after eight months, Zion could use crayons and scissors. He could swing baseball bat using both hands after one year.