An arm transplant? 'It will just blow their mind'

Indy Star | Shari Rudavski

Photo: Matt Kryger

Jeff Swedarsky suffered through a year of life after losing his arm in a freak accident.

He removed the mirrors from his house, not wanting visual reminders of what he had lost.

He sank into a deep depression.

He tried and rejected a prosthetic arm.

Even the simplest tasks from dressing himself to typing proved challenging for the 1999 North Central High School graduate. He struggled to relearn how to walk and head up stairs; the loss of his 25-pound limb threw off his balance. His wife, Sharone, helped as much as she could.

And then there was the pain. Intense, gripping pain where his left arm had once been. Pain that left him dependent on pain pills to get through the days and nights. Pain that left him despairing about the future.

Until a possible, if improbable, solution arose: an arm transplant.

Fewer than two dozen people have undergone this procedure. Most medical centers do not perform them. Many people who consider the option decide against it, not wanting to take powerful anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives to make the transplant a success. Continue reading