NBC Nightly News | Lester Holt
In a surgical first, Philadelphia doctors have transplanted donor hands and forearms onto an 8-year-old boy whose own hands were amputated when he was a toddler.
Zion Harvey told NBC News that the groundbreaking 10-hour operation performed earlier this month at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was a dream come true. He can't wait for the day he holds his little sister with his new hands.
"My favorite thing [will be to] wait for her to run into my hands as I pick her up and spin her around," he said.
His mother, Pattie Ray, was overcome with emotion as she watched her son being wheeled out of the operating room.
"When I saw Zion's hands for the first time after the operation I just felt like he was being reborn," she said. "I see my son in the light I haven't seen him in five years. It was like having a newborn. It was a very joyous moment for me. I was happy for him."
A 40-member transplant team led by Dr. L. Scott Levin had practiced extensively on cadavers before attempting the operation — a worldwide first — on a child. Continue reading