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Man Receives Hand Transplant

Last updated on Friday, February 17, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WANE) - A man who lost his hand in a farming accident in 2003 underwent a 15-and-a-half hour hand transplant procedure at a Louisville hospital Wednesday.

Ronald Thurman, 56, of Marion, Indiana is a self employed farmer who had his right hand amputated at the wrist after it got caught in a combine auger.

On Wednesday, a team of 24 hand surgeons, led by Joseph Kutz, M.D., began the procedure at Jewish Hospital which ended Thursday morning. Hand transplants are a very rare medical procedure that has only been performed 70 times on a total of 52 patients.

This is the eighth patient for the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team made up of surgeons and researchers from Jewish Hospital, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery, Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, and the University of Louisville.

The Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team developed the pioneering hand transplant procedure and has been performing hand transplants since 1999. LifeGift in Texas, in coordination with the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, arranged the hand donation.

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