The medical team responsible for the care of Jerry Fisher, the nation's second hand transplant recipient, today reported the initial movement of his fingers on the transplanted hand. In addition, the physicians said that a routine biopsy would be performed tomorrow to ensure that there are no signs of rejection.
Transplant surgeon Darla Granger, MD, University of Louisville, said
that, "The transplanted hand looks very good. We are thrilled at this point
because there are no signs of rejection." Granger also discussed another
milestone that occurred today. "Around 10:30 a.m., Jerry wiggled his
fingertips. Although this was exciting, we have to ensure that he doesn't
overwork the tendons until his physical therapy begins." He is expected to
begin physical and occupational therapy on Thursday and will also be outfitted
with an outrigger orthotic device that will aid in his therapy.
According to Tsu-Min Tsai, MD, a member of the hand transplant surgery
team responsible for connecting the arteries, the circulation in Jerry's hand
must be checked hourly. "Circulation is a key indicator to the recovery of
the hand. At this point, his fingers are nice and pink and the hand is warm.
That is a good sign."
One of the integral parts of the hand transplant process is the pre- and
post-transplant evaluation. Jeffrey Omer, MD, the internal medicine
physician responsible for Jerry's care discussed his overall physical
condition. "He is doing extremely well. Jerry has had some mild nausea due
to medication, but that has now dissipated," Omer said. "He is eating a
normal diet and has been following the normal signs of recovery."
Betty Clark, RN, is one of 12 nurses specially trained to care for hand
injury patients. The nurses have also been cross-trained to care for hand
transplant recipients. During the press briefing, she remarked, "He is very
active and definitely doesn't want to stay in bed or his room for too long at
a time." She also laughed that Jerry had remarked that he is anxious to get
out and may even begin jogging soon. Clark said she reminded him that he has
three to six months of therapy to concentrate on first. "But Jerry's attitude
is wonderful," she emphasized.
The 18-member transplant team included surgeons from Kleinert, Kutz and
Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, the University of Louisville and Jewish
Hospital as well as a five-member team from Anesthesiology Associates.
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, an organ procurement organization,
coordinated the donation of the hands for both recipients. The group of
surgeons that performed the procedure also performed the nation's first hand
transplant on Matthew Scott two years ago.