Good News Fridays: Brendan Marrocco Arm Transplants


Geek Alabama Good News Fridays

I have started Good News Fridays to put something good out there!  And this week I am going with a military theme.  A soldier who lost all four of his limbs in Iraq has successfully undergone a double arm transplant.  In what Johns Hopkins Hospital calls the most complicated limb transplant procedure ever performed in the U.S., doctors surgically attached the arms to Brendan Marrocco, who lost his limbs in 2009 in a roadside bomb attack.

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The amazing thing is Marrocco is the first solider to ever survive losing all four limbs.  Right now he is six weeks out from the operation, he can move his right elbow, which was the elbow he was born with, not an attachment.  The nerves regenerate at a maximum speed of one inch per month.  So it will take a couple of years before full function will return to the transplanted arms.  Surgeons also transplanted bone marrow to help prevent rejection of the limbs which came from a deceased person.

Marrocco is one of only seven people in the U.S. to successfully undergo a double arm transplant.  In addition to losing his limbs in the blast, he received 70 stitches in his face and experienced a severed carotid artery and a broken nose.  Things got worse when Hurricane Sandy destroyed the first floor of his New York home.  Today, Brendan Marrocco is living in a smart home!

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The “smart home” was specially built for him and is designed to make life – and all the tasks that come with it – accessible for a wounded warrior.  The home has an elevator, and the lighting is controlled by sensors.  It also features controls to raise and lower the sink and stove.  Marrocco now faces extensive rehabilitation.  Marrocco says his primary goal post operation is to get back to living completely on his own.  He wants to hand cycle a marathon, but the thing he misses most?  Driving!  Good luck Brendan Marrocco!

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