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Friday, February 01, 2013

U.S. soldier gets double-arm transplant (WOW!)

Whatever faults there might be with American healthcare, you have to admit: it still kicks ass like nobody else!

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Brendan Marrocco (right) lost all four limbs to a roadside bomb attack while serving in Iraq in 2009. It's nothing short of miraculous that Marrocco is the most severely-injured American service member to have survived such an ordeal.

It's also nothing short of amazing that nine weeks ago Marrocco received a double-arm transplant at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. It will take a few more years of his nervous system getting acclimated - to say nothing of the physical therapy that'll be involved - but in the end Brendan Marrocco will have two fully-functioning arms and hands again.

From The Guardian article...

Sergeant Brendan Marrocco, 26, of Staten Island, New York, said he was anxious to return to an active life after the successful bilateral arm transplant surgery six weeks ago at the renowned Baltimore hospital.

"I feel like I'm getting a second chance to start over," he said at a news conference. "I'm just looking forward to everything I would have wanted to do over the last four years." Driving, swimming and hand cycling top his list, he added.

He lost his arms and legs in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2009. "I hated having no arms," Marrocco said. "I was all right with having no legs."

Something that also astounds me: both arms were transplanted onto Marrocco at the same time. The surgery only took 13 hours to accomplish. That sounds like a very long time until one considers the complexity of this procedure. When I first heard about it, I thought it would have taken at least a full day to pull off.

Just over half a day to give a wounded soldier two new arms. A new lease on life.

Like I said: does American healthcare kick ass, or what?

(Tip o' the hat to Kristen Bradford for a terrific find! :-)