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Rare Double Hand Transplant Performed At Brigham And Women's

BOSTON (CBS) -- Brigham and Women's Hospital announced their first successful double-hand transplant Friday morning.

The patient is 65-year old Richard Mangino, a quadruple-amputee from Revere. The grandfather lost parts of his limbs after a contracting sepsis in 2002.

"One thing I prayed for since my oldest grandson was born was to be able to feel the sense of touch again. To touch his and Nicky's little face and to stroke their hair," said Mangino.

Doctors say Mangino's prayer will be answered. Last week a medical staff of more than forty people worked more than 12 hours to perform the surgery.

WBZ-TV's Alana Gomez reports

The operation connected bone, skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.

Within a couple days Mangino could already move his fingers.

Mangino says it's the little things like taking a shower, shaving, and getting coffee that he's looking forward to. He's also holding out hope he'll eventually be able to take up guitar again.

"It's just like you can fly," said Mangino. "It's like a bird without wings and now you have your wings back."

The donor's name is being kept anonymous but a family statement was read at a press conference. The donor's wife wrote that her husband would've wanted to continue helping people.

Reflecting on his years using prosthetics Mangino said, "I'll always be that same person, but I accept my new self."

Right now Mangino is limited to slight movements but doctors say with the help of therapy he'll gradually be able to do more within the coming weeks and months.

As for whether or not he'll be able to play guitar again the doctors say their motto is "never say never."

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