8-year-old Zion Harvey became the world's first child to receive a hand transplant.
When the boy was only 2 years old, he suffered a serious infectious disease that threatened his life. To save him, doctors had to amputate his hands and feet. He also needed a kidney transplant and now needs immunosuppressants for the rest of his life to avoid rejection.
In July of this year, doctors managed to transplant donor hands to an 8-year-old boy. Prior to this, such operations have never been performed on children. In 2011, the first successful adult hand transplant took place.
“However, with children, everything is much more complicated due to the peculiarities of the children's skeleton. First of all, the bones are much more fragile,” comments Dr. L. Scott Levin, who led the operation.
For 11 hours, a group of 40 surgeons made what can rightly be called a breakthrough in world surgery. However, it became possible to call the operation successful only after a lapse of time. The boy's body did not perceive the new hands as something alien, and after a month of observation and physiotherapy, the doctors considered that Zion could return home.
"He's getting better every day," says the boy's mother, Patti Ray. “He can play with his toys, he can eat his own pizza.”
When the doctors asked the little patient before the operation what he would like to do with his new hands, he replied that he wanted to pull himself up on the horizontal bar.
"I guess it won't be long before the guy can even play American football," smiles Dr. Levin. "He's a sweet kid and he can do whatever he wants."