Zion Harvey has been declared the recipient of the world’s first successful double hand transplant- in a child.
In 2015, the 8-year-old boy underwent the procedure in the US. The surgery took almost 11 hours with 4 teams of doctors and resulted in him having two new hands.
Zion had contracted sepsis and by the age of two, he had to have his hands and feet amputated. For the next 6 years, he had to depend on those around him to get through the day. The only things that he had left were residual limbs and specialist equipment which he used to dress, eat, and wash.
The team from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia writes: “At 18 months [after the transplant], the child had exceeded his previous adaptive abilities. As of 18 months after transplantation surgery he is able to write and feed, toilet and dress himself more independently and efficiently than he could do before transplantation.”
Organ transplants are a risky procedure. The body can reject the foreign organ and to combat that, the patient needs to be on a heavy dose of medicine and immunosuppressant drugs. Zion’s body has coped well with that, resulting in the transplant being successful and the foundation of transplants for many other children in the future.