Transplant Patient Loses Hand

by Gabe Bullard on April 21, 2009

Less than a year after receiving a hand transplant at Jewish Hospital, Dave Robert Armstrong has had his hand removed.

The 33 year old Armstrong underwent the transplant last July.  Last month he reported poor circulation in the hand and last week doctors removed it.

Lead surgeon Dr. Warren Breidenbach says the transplant team is awaiting the results of a tissue analysis. They’re not sure if the hand was rejected or if the problems stemmed from surgical complications.

“No one’s ever followed all the rules – as Mr. Armstrong did – did everything the doctors asked them to do and lost their hand,” says Breidenbach. “That’s what makes this unique.”

This is the first time the doctors at Jewish have had to remove a transplanted hand. The program has been temporarily suspended until doctors know why Armstrong developed complications. Breidenbach says the results will likely help surgeons fine tune the transplant process.

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