8 year old Zion Harvey’s double hand transplant has, so far, been a complete success. As the eyes of the world are on the little boy, the only feelings that can go through his head are joy, excitement, and immense gratitude towards his family.
The small child’s story is as beautiful as it is heartwarming. For an eight year old, doctors look at the boy as an example of modesty, maturity, and strong will. After he has been in and out of hospitals for most of his life, it now seems like his life will change for the better.
As he will tell you, when he was two years old, he had to undergo a dangerous procedure to amputate both his hands and feet. This was due to an infection called sepsis. As it was increasing towards total organ failure, the four extremities of his limbs had to be removed completely. Ever since, life has been hard for little Zion.
He also had to undergo a procedure to transplant one of his kidneys, as the damage done by the infection left one of them completely destroyed. This was two years later, at age four. His mother readily agreed to give him one of hers. The boy recovered well, but had to take immune-suppressing meds so as to prevent the rejection of the organ.
Still, the doctors were extremely lucky that the kid had been on the drugs for four years. This increased the chances of the operation to give him new hands being a success. The mother agreed, while saying that it was ultimately his decision to make, because the operation posed no greater risk than the previous transplant.
Zion Harvey of Maryland’s Owings Mills, a suburb to Baltimore, is, according to all known medical records, the youngest person to ever receive two helping hands through transplant. At the press conference after the surgery, the boy said that even if the operation had not succeeded, he would’ve still had his loving family to fall back to. Zion also explicitly thanked them for helping him to go over “this bumpy road.”
The hospital, which naturally got a great popularity boost, said that they will not ask a single penny form the parents above that which is covered by insurance. This stands even as the operation took a whole 11 hours to complete, by 40 different doctors who used steel plates, screws, and, of course, the insanely difficult procedure of microsurgery, to attach the two hands.
Zion now has limited mobility in his new hands, but is expected to make a full recovery. He will soon be able to play ball on his prosthetic legs and with his transplanted arms, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine.