When Zion Harvey was 2 years old, doctors amputated both his hands and feet due to an infection that caused multi-organ failure. Since the amputations, Zion has received prosthetic legs and learned how to eat, write and play video games. But despite adapting to life without hands, the now 8-year-old was pretty excited when he learned he would be the first kid to receive a double-hand transplant.
“When I get these hands, I will be proud of what hands I get,” Zion said. “And if it gets messed up…I don’t care because I have my family.”
The operation, which took place at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, took 18 months to plan. Doctors performing the surgery would have to reattach blood vessels, bones, nerves, muscles and skin. After receiving the transplant, Zion will have to take lifelong medications to prevent rejection of the transplant, which also raises the risks of infections and some cancers.
However, Zion proved to be a unique candidate due to the fact he’s received a kidney transplant from his mother and has already been taking anti-rejection drugs. Twelve surgeons, eight nurses and three anesthesiologists worked all night to give Zion his new hands, but thankfully it was a success.
Watch the emotional video here.