A disabled man wheeled himself into a hospital conference room to face a crowd of journalists.
Not so unusual, you might think. But you would be wrong. Former Army Sergeant Brendan Marroco is the first US soldier from the Iraq and Afghan campaigns to survive losing both arms and both legs. An explosion in Iraq in 2009 changed his life forever.
But now he has received two new arms in the first transplant of its kind at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
“Not having arms takes so much away from you, out of even your personality.” he told reporters. “You talk with your hands, you do everything with your hands, basically, and when you don’t have that, you’re kind of lost for a while.”
The transplant operation itself took place in December and involved 16 doctors from plastic surgery, orthopedics and other disciplines. The surgery lasted over 13 hours with everything from skin and nerves to blood vessels having to be attached.
Marroco said completing a road race on a manually-propelled bike and also driving a car again are his two major aims.
“We’ll get there,” Marrocco said. Visibly in high spirits, the war veteran laughed and joked and said a positive attitude and stubborn nature helped sustain him through his ordeal. “If it really meant something to me, I would go through hell to do it,” he said.
Marrocco’s family said that besides his pain, he has been upbeat. “He really hasn’t had any low points,” said Michael Marrocco, his brother.
W.P. Andrew Lee, the doctor who headed the transplant team, said although the surgery was successful, it will be a few years before Marrocco’s nerves regenerate and he regains significant use of his arms. “The progress will be slow, but the outcome will be rewarding,” Lee said.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians
- 247 dead and 11 injured in TransAsia Airways crash landing
- 3Fighter jets ‘shot down’ over Ukraine
- 4TransAsia Airways plane crashes on landing in Taiwan, killing dozens
- 5Ukraine suspects one of its jets was shot down by another aircraft
- 1Moscow claims Ukrainian jet flew close to Malaysian airliner
- 2MH17 flight recorders are handed over by Ukrainian rebels
- 3Demonstrations in Israeli cities over Gaza conflict
- 4EU foreign ministers expected to discuss further sanctions on Russia
- 5Israeli air strikes continue as death toll in Gaza conflict escalates
- 1298 killed as Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down over Ukraine
- 2[LIVE UPDATE] Malaysia Airlines MH17: Dutch forensic team arrives at crash site
- 3Researchers reach mysterious giant crater in Siberia
- 447 dead and 11 injured in TransAsia Airways crash landing
- 5Ukraine: Black boxes recovered from downed Malaysian airliner
Wires > News
- 04:55 CET Kerry pushes for Gaza truce as death toll tops 700
- 04:36 CET Leaders of Taiwan, China offer condolences for 48 dead in plane…
- 02:57 CET Venezuela’s world-famous ‘vertical slum’ may be demolished
- 23:23 CET Suicide bombs in Nigeria’s Kaduna kill 82, ex-leader Buhari…
- 23:21 CET India bids to reassert influence in Nepal with power pact
- 21:26 CET Chinese president ends regional tour in cradle of Cuban Revolution
- 19:28 CET Bulgaria’s prime minister resigns with bank crisis unresolved
- 18:12 CET Lebanese soldier defects to al Qaeda in Syria – video