First hand transplant patient remembers surgeon Dr. Joseph Kutz after his death

First hand transplant patient remembers surgeon Dr. Joseph Kutz after his death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s been more than 21 years since Matthew Scott’s hand transplant, and he says Dr. Joesph Kutz worked a miracle for him.

“Dr. Kutz was the one who sewed the nerves together in my hand and forearm,” Scott explained. “And if you’ve never met Dr.Kutz, he had the biggest hands of any human being I’ve ever met, and to do the delicate work he did of sewing those little nerves together, it always amazes me.”

In December 1985, Scott lost about 95 percent of his left hand after a makeshift M-80 firework exploded in it.

“I was just playing games with it,” Scott said. “I was tapping it to the end of my cigarette never expecting it to light and it did, and the fuse burned so fast that I was just able to get it away from my face.”

Scott’s first doctor recommended an amputation and a prosthetic. After being fitted for the prosthetic, 9 months later the young paramedic was back at work.

After 13 years with the prosthetic, Scott was in London when he learned about a surgery happening in Louisville that would change his life forever.

“The newspaper had this big two-page article with pictures and graphics about this team in the United States that was going to be doing this hand transplant,” Scott added.

Four months later, Scott was in the operating for the first ever hand transplant done in America. One of his surgeons was Dr. Kutz who died on Saturday.

“Dr. Kutz was always there,” Scott said. “And that was always a comfort to know that one of the people who was there at the very beginning was still there 20 years later.”

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