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Boy Becomes First Child In The World To Receive Double Hand Transplant

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A first of its kind surgery -- done right here in Philadelphia.

Doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia successfully completed a double hand transplant on a young boy.

Eight-year-old Zion Harvey from Baltimore is the first child in the world to have a double hand transplant.

"I just want to say this, never give up on your dreams it will come true," said Zion.

Zion had a sepsis infection when he was two, forcing doctors to amputate his arms and legs to save his life.

"He goes through things most adults couldn't fathom and he endures them with a smile and he is happy," said his mother, Pattie Ray.

"My grandmother says I'm smarter than most grown-ups," said Zion.

This video from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia shows a charming little boy who got around on prosthetic legs and  managed to do a lot with his limitations with a phone, or a guitar, even eating with a fork and dealing with bullies.

"Some of my classmates don't mean to say mean things to me but it slips out," said Zion.

After months of planning, a donor was found through Gift of Life, an unidentified child.

A team of 40 at Children's Hospital operated for 10 hours, establishing blood flow and nerves in a complicated and delicate operation that had never been done before.

"I think the difficulty was finding a family who has the courage to relinquish the arms of a child who just died and give hope and life to a child still living," said Dr. Scott Levin of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

It will take months of intense therapy before Zion can start to feel and use his new hands, he says he's eager to get home to play with a new puppy.


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