Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The surgeon who gave Zion a pair of hands

Times of Israel | BY AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN

An Israeli child runs to pick up a seemingly abandoned toy from the street. In a tragic flash, he discovers it is a bomb and with the loss of both his hands, child’s play is over.

Until now that boy would have never again been able to grasp his mother’s hand in his. But with a new groundbreaking procedure performed by a team led by Dr. L. Scott Levin in Philadelphia this July, there is renewed hope.

And the hope springs forth from Zion.

Today a bubbly, active and precocious eight year old, at age two Zion Harvey was struck by a sepsis infection that led to the amputation of his hands and feet. Barely hanging on two years later, he also underwent a kidney transplant through a donation from his mother, Pattie Ray.

This July, he underwent a further organ transplant — a pair of hands — made possible by an unknown boy of similar size and pigmentation whose life was severed too early. This groundbreaking bilateral pediatric hand transplant opens up a world of possibilities to Zion, as well as to a world of children who, through birth defects, infection, or injury, have lost their hands and who, until now, had no recourse to regain them.

Lead surgeon Dr. L. Scott Levin, who helmed a 40-strong team of medical personnel at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), told The Times of Israel in an early morning conversation this week that he has already received some 250 applications from families of handless children from all over the globe. This procedure fills a real need. Continue reading

 

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