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Back To Vidyya World's Second Hand Transplant Recipient Moves Fingers For The First Time

Physicians Report That New Hand Looks Very Good

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.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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