A year has passed since Zion Harvey underwent a double hand transplant procedure. Since then, he made a lot of progress, according to doctors who looked after him.
Earlier in August, the 9-year-old boy got a chance to accomplish one of his biggest dreams: he threw the first pitch at a Texas Rangers versus Baltimore Orioles game.
For Zion, throwing a ball was a great accomplishment. Because as of last summer, Zion was the first child to go through a double hand transplant.
At the age of 2, Zion lost his hands and legs below the knee, because of a life-threatening infection. The disease also damaged the kidneys. He was lucky enough to receive a healthy kidney donated by his mother, Pattie Ray.
They went through a lot of hardship together. Zion said he wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for his mother. Because he had the kidney transplant and was already on immune suppressing drugs, this helped him become an ideal candidate for getting new hands.
He had been tolerating the immune suppressing drugs well, so doctors thought of having a shot at restoring his hands. The drugs enabled his body to accept the hand transplant.
In July 2016, Zion had to go through a premiere surgery which went on for 11 hours. The surgeon, Dr. Scott Levin, director of the Hand Transplant Program was in charge of a team of 40 medical staff in the operating room. He credits all the doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and housekeeping for giving fantastic, life-altering care to the 9-year-old boy.
Dr. Levin goes on to confirm the old saying that “It takes a village to raise a kid”
The surgery went well, however, the recovery was long and painstaking. Zion confronted a lot of challenges. He had to re-train his brain to learn to use the new hands. He went through complicated exercises and procedures and needed therapy to cope with the situation.
But in the end, Zion proved to be a winner. He now feels that his life is complete because he can now use his hands almost normally.
His family showed love and optimism in the face of hardship.
Image Source – Pixabay