Revere man has successful double hand transplant
BOSTON -- A team of more than 40 surgeons, nurses and support staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital performed a rare double hand transplant.
The team worked for more than 12 hours performing the surgery last week and on Friday the recipient, 65-year-old Richard Mangino, and the team spoke about the successful transplant.
Mangino, of Revere, lost his arms below the elbows and legs below the knees after contracting sepsis in 2002. Since losing his limbs, he had become incredibly adept at using prosthetic limbs and living a normal life.
Now, with new hands, he calls it a chance for a new beginning in his life. He is a father of two and a grandfather of three.
Mangino is Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s first successful double hand transplant recipient. The hospital performed its first double hand transplant last May, but it was not successful. Several other U. S. Hospitals have performed similar operations.
“I could see it in my family’s face,” said Mangino. “They were like, ‘That’s crazy. This is going to happen.’ After you could see them smiling saying, ‘Wow he’s a genius.’”
The transplant involved connecting skin, tendons, muscles, ligaments, bones and blood vessels on both the left and right forearms and hands. The operation was performed a week ago, but the exact date is not being revealed so it doesn’t inadvertently identify the organ donor.
“Last week a remarkable family saw past their own loss and said yes to this unique request. We thank them for their selflessness and their gift that made this surgery possible,” said Richard Luskin of the New England Organ Bank.
Although Mangino was skilled with his prosthetic limbs, he knows how much easier life will be with hands.
“Taking a shower, shaving, getting coffee ready…All of those things that, for the past nine years that I’ve been doing, people say you’re a miracle,” said Mangino.
He is saddened by the donor family’s loss and overwhelmed by the gift of life. Mangino said he is looking forward to the day that he can shake his friend’s hand, go swimming and ride his bicycle.
Doctors said Mangino’s recovery will include months of therapy.
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