Hand Transplant Recipient Going Home, Will Meet Donor’s Father

by Rick Howlett on May 14, 2012

The eighth person to receive a new hand under Jewish Hospital’s transplant program is preparing to return home this week.

At 56, Ronald Thurman is the program’s oldest transplant patient. He lost his right hand eight years ago in a farming accident and received his new hand in February.

It came from 22 year old Ian Heidemann (below) of Fort Worth, Texas, who died in a traffic accident. He had directed his family to arrange the donation of not only his hand, but several organs to patients in need.

Before he heads home to Marion, Indiana, this week, Ronald Thurman and his wife, Cathy, plan to meet Ian’s father.

“He’s in Louisville for business. He just happens to be here. And he said he wanted (to meet us), we’re coming to the end of my therapy, my stay here, so we’ve kind of made a decision to meet him. It going to be probably a very emotional thing there,” Thurman said in an interview.

Thurman says his new hand is functioning well and he’s eager to resume farming. He’ll undergo physical therapy at home and come to Louisville once a month for checkups.

(Family photo of Ian Heidemann from wfaa.com)

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