LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Fifteen and one-half hours. That's how long it took to give one man a new grasp on life.
Ronald Thurman is recovering Thursday after being the eighth man to receive a hand transplant at Jewish Hospital, a part of KentuckyOne Health.
Thurman, a resident of Marion, Indiana, is a self-employed farmer who injured his right hand in a farming accident in November 2003. His hand got caught in a combine/auger resulting in the amputation of his right hand at his wrist, nine inches below his elbow.
A team of 24 surgeons and two anesthesiologists lead by Joseph Kutz, M.D. were able to perform the hand transplant procedure with the Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team. The team is made up of surgeons and researchers from Jewish Hospital, the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hanf and Miscrosurgery, Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center and the University of Louisville.
The procedure used, developed by The Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft Program team, has been performing hand transplants since 1999, the longest in the United States.
LifeGift, located in Texas, in coordination with the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, arranged the hand donation for the patient's hand transplant procedure.
The other hand transplants performed by the Louisville Vascular Composite Allograft Program are:
Matthew Scott – January 24, 1999
Gerald Fisher – February 16, 2001
Dave Savage – November 29, 2006
Dave Armstrong – July 12, 2008
Jan (Erik) Hondusky – November 24, 2008
Richard Edwards – August 24, 2010 (double hand transplant)
Donnie Rickelman – July 10, 2011
Dr. Kutz, partner with Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, director of the Kleinert Institute, and Michael Marvin, M.D., director of Transplantation at Jewish Hospital and associate professor of Surgery at the University of Louisville are the co-investigators for the innovative procedure. Rosemary Ouseph, M.D., director of Clinical Transplantation and professor of Medicine for the University of Louisville, manages the patient's immunosuppressive drug therapy, along with Dr. Marvin.
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