News Releases

News Releases

Oklahoma Man Receives Double Hand Transplant at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center

For Immediate Release: 8/26/2010

Louisville, Kentucky – A team of surgeons from Kleinert Kutz and Associates and the University of Louisville performed a double hand transplant on an Edmond, Oklahoma man, Dr. Richard Edwards. The 17 ½ hour innovative procedure took place on August 24-25 at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center.

Edwards’ wife Cindy said, “This is so exciting.  I can’t believe it is a reality.  The first time I saw his new hands, I just kept staring at them. I am so grateful and thankful to God.”  She added, “I truly want to thank the donor family for their tremendous gift and we are praying to God to comfort them for their loss and pain.”

The 55-year-old double hand transplant recipient made his living as a chiropractor before losing both hands when his truck caught fire on February 11, 2006.  Unable to escape the burning vehicle, he was severely burned on his face, back, arms and hands, leaving very little tissue left in both hands.

Since his injury, Edwards had multiple reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts, but remained with very little hand function.  He requires assistance with all activities of daily living and nearly completely dependent on his wife and others for help.

Lead surgeon, Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D, with Kleinert Kutz & Associates, said the patient is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) but is up and about today, a day following surgery.  Breidenbach said, “Overall, he is looking fine. The hands look good.  We will plan on moving his left hand for sure tomorrow.  For the right hand, the tendon and bone are ready to be moved, but he has some skin coverage that requires waiting several days up to two weeks.  We will know more when we remove the bandages tomorrow. “

Breidenbach further explained, “This is the first time we have transplanted someone that was damaged at the hand and not at the forearm.  We have healthy muscles and tendons in the forearm making it easier for early movement.”

The patient’s immunosuppressive drug therapy will be monitored closely by Michael Marvin, M.D., chief of transplantation, Jewish Hospital/University of Louisville.  Edwards will be monitored with the use of biopsies and lab tests.

The surgical team included six hand surgeons, 14 hand fellows and a number of anesthesiologists and surgical operating staff. 

The Composite Tissue Allotransplantation program is a partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, Kleinert Kutz & Associates, and the University of Louisville. The group developed the pioneering hand transplant procedure and has performed five other hand transplants since 1999.  Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates coordinated the hand donation for the teams hand transplant procedures.

The hand transplant is sponsored by the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and Office of Army Research to further research in the composite tissue allotransplantation program.
Broadcast quality MPEG-2 720x480 video file surgery footage of the double hand transplant is available for download at www.handtransplant.com. Other information, photography and video of the double hand transplant and the other five hand transplants performed by the team are available on at www.handtransplant.com.  Other video on the website is not broadcast quality.


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Barbara Mackovic
Senior Manager
502-587-4230
 

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Kleinert Institute Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center University of Louisville School of Medicine