Surgery Means New Hands for Massachusetts Man

VIDEO: Richard Mangino, 65, lost his hands after contracting sepsis in 2002.

A 65-year-old Massachusetts man became the latest patient to receive a new pair of hands last week through a transplant operation, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital said Friday.

The Boston Globe reports that Richard Mangino of Revere, Mass., underwent a 12-hour operation last week in which a transplant team gave him the forearms and hands of an anonymous donor. Mangino had his own lower arms amputated along with his lower legs when a blood infection threatened his life in 2002.

The amputations led to dramatic adjustments in Mangino’s day-to-day life, but they also marked the beginning of his artistic expression on the canvas. Mangino painted using a brush held in the prosthesis on his left arm.

Mangino’s operation was the third successful double-hand transplant procedure in the country so far. Last year, Chris Pollock of Pennsylvania, who had lost both hands in a farming accident, appeared on “Good Morning America” to discuss the double-hand transplant he received at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The first double-hand transplant recipient was Jeff Kepner of Georgia, whose May 2009 surgery was also performed at UPMC.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital made headlines recently for  face transplant surgeries performed there. In June, the hospital announced that it had succeeded in transplanting a face on 57-year-old Charla Nash, who had lost much of her face and both her hands when a chimpanzee attacked her. The doctors also attempted a double-hand transplant, but pneumonia and kidney failure following the surgery hampered circulation, and the transplanted hands had to be removed.

Last April, the hospital announced that it had performed a face transplant n on Mitch Hunter, 30, of Indiana, whose face had been disfigured in a 2001 accident. Surgeons there also gave 25-year-old Dallas Wiens of Fort Worth, Texas, a new face. Wiens, a construction worker, had endured severe burns to his head years before when the boom lift he was operating drifted into a nearby power line.

The hospital has also performed a partial face transplant on a man who fell face first onto an electrified subway rail.

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