Henryville tornado survivor to become first woman to undergo han - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Henryville tornado survivor to become first woman to undergo hand transplant locally

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Louella Aker is on the list to receive a hand transplant Louella Aker is on the list to receive a hand transplant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Henryville tornado survivor is on the list to become the first woman to undergo a hand transplant at Jewish Hospital. 

Louella Aker helped her neighbors by pitching in to clean-up the mess left behind by the 2012 tornado.

Aker contracted a staph infection that ultimately took all four of her limbs. 

Right now, she uses a myoelectric prosthesis for her hands. 

"None of them have really come close to helping me go back to the life I had before [the tornado]," Aker said, in a news conference held Thursday at Jewish Hospital.

During the  news conference, Aker got to meet others who faced similar struggles.

Jerry Fisher, Matthew Scott and Donnie Rickleman are among the first-ever hand transplant recipients in the Unites States.

"I'm happy to be here celebrating 15 years. It's been a long road," Fisher said. 

Fisher's lost his left hand after a fireworks accident in Michigan. His transplant is working better and longer than doctors predicted.

"So far, we have had nine patients and we are waiting for a donor for our 10th patient," Dr. Tuna Ozyurekoglu said. 

Aker will be that 10th patient. 

"To see these gentlemen here. Those are their hands!" she said about meeting the other transplant recipients.

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