8-year-old Zion Harvey from Baltimore is the first child to ever receive a bilateral hand transplant and now that he has a new lease on life, he intends to make the bast of it.
Zion Harvey has gone through some extremely intense things in his short life, as he lost both his hands and feet at the age of 2 to an extremely aggressive infection that nearly claimed his life. The infection greatly affected his kidneys as well and so he had been on dialysis for quite some time before he received a kidney from his mother at the age of 4.
Actually, it was his kidney transplant that made Zion the perfect candidate for the hand transplant, because he was already on anti-rejection medicine. This is one of the greatest ethical issues that have prevented hand transplants to be performed on children until now, because making a child take medication for the rest of his life for a condition that is not life threatening remains highly debated by the medical community.
While Zion was able to lead a happy life without his hands, he could not have survived without kidneys and therefore the ethical issues surrounding the kidney transplant were far easier to resolve.
And so, a medical team comprised of 40 medical professionals from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Medicine, including orthopedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists and scrub nurses, led by Dr. L. Scott Levin operated on Zion. After an 11-hour surgery they were able to give him new hands. The operation was a success, which makes it a ground-breaking moment in medical history.
The entire medical team simply fell in love with the charismatic Zion, who is absolutely thrilled to have gotten this great gift but also immensely grateful to his doctors and his family for helping him. His personality is absolutely delightful, as all the hardships he has been through have provided him with wisdom well beyond his years and overwhelming optimism, that is absolutely contagious.
“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.” said Zion.
Zion will need extensive physical therapy, so that he may learn to use his new hands, but he is incredibly excited to do that since one of his lifelong dreams is to be able to throw a football. And he has solid plans for the future, as he intends to learn how to play the guitar with his new hands, and maybe even become a doctor one day.
Equipped with a new kidney, two amazing prosthetic legs and now two brand new hands, Zion Harvey is a true force to be reckoned with. His incredibly witty personality, his immense perseverance, his irresistible charisma and his big hart are sure to get him very far in life, so be assured that this is not the last we will be hearing about Zion Harvey!
Image Source: sltrib