Zion Harvey is taking the world by storm after it was announced that he became the first child to receive a double-hand transplant.

Zion Harvey Receives First Child Bilateral Hand Transplant

Harvey, 8, lost his hands and feet to a life-threatening bacterial infection when he was 2, and required a liver transplant from his mother, Pattie Ray, a few years later as a result of the infection. Because Harvey was already on anti-rejection medication for his liver transplant, making him an ideal candidate for this groundbreaking surgery.

The bilateral hand transplant took place earlier this summer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), but was not officially announced until Tuesday, July 28, at a press conference. The surgery required a team of 40 health professionals, including 12 surgeons, eight nurses and three anesthesiologists, who worked in four separate groups over 10 hours.

“When I saw Zion’s hands for the first time after the operation, I just felt like he was being reborn,” Ray said in an interview with Today.

Harvey, however, said he doesn’t think the operation has changed him too much, telling reporters, “I’m the same person who I still used to be, but with some cool new hands.”

Dr. Scott Levin, the hospital’s transplant program director, complimented the donor family that made the transplant possible, saying, “I think the difficulty is finding a family that has the courage to relinquish the arms of a child who just died, and give hope and life and quality of life to a child who’s still living.”

Harvey is currently in physical therapy, and his hands remain heavily bandaged. When asked what he wants to do once he gets the bandages off, Harvey responded, “Pick up my little sister from daycare, and wait for her to run into my hands, then I pick her up and spin her around.”

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