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Dublin: 6°C Monday 6 December 2021

8-year-old who lost his limbs to infection gets a double hand transplant

Zion Harvey told doctors that he wanted to swing on monkey bars.

ZION HARVEY HAS become the world’s youngest person to have a double-hand transplant.

Speaking before the surgery the 8-year-old said, “I wasn’t always like this, when I was two I had to get my hands cut off because I was sick.”

Double Hand Transplant-Child Source: AP/Press Association Images

He had a life-threatening infection which caused multi-organ system failure. He also lost his feet.

Harvey, from Baltimore in Maryland, now has leg prosthetics and received a kidney transplant from his mother when he was four.

He told doctors ahead of the surgery that he wanted hands so he could swing on monkey bars and throw a football with hands. He also said:

When I get these hands I will be proud of what hands I get, and if it gets messed up, I don’t care because I have my family.

It took the team of 40 doctors, nurses and other staff 10 hours to carry out the complex surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Source: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia/YouTube

Head of the hand transplant program, Dr. L. Scott Levin, said, ”There hasn’t been one whimper, one tear, one complaint.”

The doctor described Zion as “a very very intelligent young man”.

Double Hand Transplant-Child Source: AP/Press Association Images

His mother Pattie Ray said, “This is just another hurdle that he jumps, he jumps so many hurdles, he’s so amazing. This isn’t the first amazing thing that he’s done, he’s been doing amazing things since he was sick.

I don’t know many adults who could handle his life on a day to day basis.

Speaking about being teased by classmates, Zion said:

Sometimes I just think, some of my classmates don’t mean to say mean things to me but it just slips out..everybody has their own way of thinking things.

Double Hand Transplant-Child Source: AP/Press Association Images

The surgery has been hailed a success so far but this is only the beginning of the process.

Harvey will have to take medication to stop his body from rejecting the new hands for life.

It’s hoped that Zion will have the use of his hands in around eight months, he currently has physical therapy several times a day.

Read: This man has volunteered to have the first-ever head transplant>

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