14-year anniversary of first hand transplant in U.S. - WDRB 41 Louisville News

14-year anniversary of first hand transplant in U.S.

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- It's been 14 years since medical history was made in Louisville.  That's when Matthew Scott became the first person in the United States to receive a hand transplant.

Scott received a new left hand during the 14-and-a-half-hour procedure at Jewish Hospital.  He lost his hand in a blast from an M80 firecracker accident in 1985, but is now able to do everyday activities.

Initially, there was a controversy that performing a hand transplant could make it more likely for a patient to develop diabetes, cancer, or other diseases because the transplant involved the patient taking drugs that suppress the immune system.

Scott had diabetes when he underwent the transplant, but has not had any problems relating to the drugs involving the immune system.

Dr. Joseph Kutz said in a news release, "Matt has proved to be an outstanding subject who has continued to improve the survivability of his transplanted hand and continue to function well with his hand.  Therefore, the door has been opened to this procedure, which previously was considered unethical 14 years ago."

Including Scott's surgery, doctors in Louisville have performed hand transplants on eight patients:

  • Matt Scott from New Jersey – January 24-25, 1999
  • Gerald David Fisher from Michigan - February 17, 2001
  • David Savage from Michigan - Nov. 29, 2006
  • Dave Robert Armstrong from California - July 12, 2008.
  • Jan "Erik" Hondusky from New York - November 24, 2008
  • Richard Edwards from Oklahoma – August 24, 2010 (double hand transplant)
  • Donnie Rickelman from Indiana – July 10, 2011
  • Ronald Thurman from Indiana – February 15, 2012

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