OWINGS MILLS, Md. (WJZ) — A Baltimore County boy makes history, becoming the first child in the world to have a double hand transplant. The eight-year-old from Owings Mills has new hope thanks to the groundbreaking surgery.
Christie Ileto introduces us to Zion Harvey.
Zion lost both of his hands and his feet in the first two years of his life, but what’s equally amazing as this groundbreaking procedure is his determination to be a normal kid.
“I don’t know what a child’s hand looks like,” said eight-year-old Zion Harvey.
That’s because a severe infection forced both of Zion’s hands and feet to be amputated at the age of two.
“I will be proud of what hands I get,” he said.
The eight-year-old from Owings Mills has two new hands. He’s the first kid in the world to receive a double hand transplant.
“Never give up on your dreams, it will come true,” he said.
A surgical team of 40 at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia worked ten hours connecting bone, blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons and skin.
Zion was put on a waiting list in April.
“I think the difficulty is finding a family who has the courage to relinquish the arms of a child who just died and give hope and quality of life to a child who’s still living,” said L. Scott Levin, lead surgeon.
Zion’s surgery is the latest in a growing number of transplants that include arms, hands and even faces.
In 2013, Johns Hopkins doctors transplanted arms on an injured soldier. The year before that, University of Maryland Medical Center performed a face transplant.
Zion says post-surgery, he feels no different.
“It feels the same because I never left who I was. I’m the same person who I still used to be, but with some cool new hands,” he said.
Zion has months of recovery ahead of him, but he’s already starting to move his fingers.
Doctors say his hands will grow with him. Zion won’t be back in Baltimore for at least another month.