Boy has new hands - level 3
An eight-year-old boy in America has become the youngest person to receive a double hand transplant.
Making history, Zion Harvey underwent the intricate eleven-hour operation earlier this month. A surgical team of 40 at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia used steel screws and plates to fuse together Zion’s old and new bones before delicately reconnecting his muscles, nerves, tendons, veins and arteries.
“A child’s hand… it looks like… It could be this colour or this colour… I don’t know!”
Although he has several weeks of physical therapy ahead, he will soon have ability to pick up small objects like Cheerios and pieces of Lego.
Zion’s hands and feet had to be amputated when he was a toddler after he contracted sepsis, a serious bacterial infection.
“When I was two, I had to get my hands cut off because I was sick.”
But with the help of prosthetic legs, he's able to walk, run and jump.
“So, when I get those hands, I will be proud of what hands I get! And, if it gets messed up…”
“It’s not going to get messed up! Are you excited?”
“…I don’t care because I have my family!”
Several adults in the US have received double hand or double-arm transplants in the past few years, but Zion is believed to be the youngest person to have the surgery, which requires a lifetime of immune-suppressing drugs to ensure the body doesn't reject the new limbs.
“Up. Up, up, up, up… Nice!”
Doctors say Zion will spend several weeks in physical rehab at the hospital before returning home.
“Me and Zoei want a puppy!”
“Where’s the puppy going to live?”
“In my room! Where else?”
Difficult words: intricate (difficult), fuse (to put), delicately (carefully), tendon (a thin long part of your body which connects muscle to a bone), contract (to catch).
What do you think about this boy’s new hands?
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