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Youngest double hand transplant patient plays baseball

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | News

Ten-year-old Zion Harvey is the youngest ever recipient of a double hand transplant and two years on from his operation he has been filmed playing baseball.


As a toddler, Zion suffered a serious infection which attacked his kidneys, hands and lower limbs. So serious was the infection that brave Zion underwent a kidney transplant from his Mother and had his hands and lower limbs amputated.


Zion is totally un-phased by what happened to him and said: "When I was two I had to get my hands cut off because I was sick."


Zion had to meet a specific set of rules to ensure the highest possible rate of success. Following the hand transplant surgery Zion’s body and brain accepted his new hands. He had grown up without limbs during an especially important period of motor-neurone development, meaning his brain was accustomed to life without hands. Progress was slow to begin with, but with his hand transplant Zion is now capable of dressing himself, writing, fetching his own snacks and even playing baseball.


It’s not all been smooth sailing; Zion’s body rejected the hands eight times, but adapting his medication ensured no long-term damage. Zion had to meet a specific set of rules to ensure the highest possible rate of success as the transplant surgery is not a viable option for everyone.


Zion is so thankful to his hand donor and fully aware of the gift he has been given. During an interview with CBC News he said: “Thank you to the parents for giving me their son’s hands, they didn’t have to do that.”

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