Double hand transplant taking place in Pittsburgh

May 4, 2009 7:49:53 PM PDT
The first U.S. double hand transplant is taking place at a Pittsburgh hospital. A spokeswoman for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that patient Jeff Kepner went into surgery Monday morning. The surgery was expected to take up to 20 hours.

The 57-year-old Kepner is a native of Lancaster, Pa., who lives in Augusta, Ga. He told the Sunday News of Lancaster he looks forward to holding his 13-year-old daughter, who was 3 when he lost his hands and feet to a bacterial infection.

Eight double hand transplants have been performed abroad. Last month French physicians performed the world's first simultaneous partial face and double hand transplant.

Surgeons at the Pittsburgh hospital recently transplanted a hand onto a Marine who was hurt in a training accident.

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