Shriners Hospitals for Children participates in world’s first double hand transplant on a child

Continuing its tradition of innovative and collaborative care, Shriners Hospitals for Children surgeons are part of a collaborative team of experts performing this complex, life-changing surgery

Thursday, July 30, 2015
Dr. Kozin kneels next to Zion Harvey in wheelchair

Shriners Hospitals for Children® joined a collaborative team of 40 medical experts from Philadelphia, PA to perform the world’s first bilateral hand transplant on a child. Earlier this month, surgeons successfully transplanted donor hands and forearms onto 8-year-old Zion Harvey, who at the age of 2 underwent amputation of his hands and feet following a serious infection.

Chief of Staff, Scott Kozin, M.D. and Dan Zlotolow, M.D from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia initially evaluated Zion as a possible recipient of the first pediatric hand transplant. Zion, who had previously received a kidney transplant from his mother, was already taking anti-rejection drugs, which made him a strong candidate for this procedure.

“This historic case demonstrates our commitment to innovative pediatric care that truly transforms the life of a child,” said Jerry Gantt, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “Our mission is to help children achieve their dreams. Giving Zion the opportunity to one day climb monkey bars and throw a football is just another way we send Love to the rescue®.”

To perform this complex procedure, Shriners Hospitals for Children partnered with Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine and Gift of Life. Drs. Kozin and Zlotolow formed part of a 40-person team during the nearly 11-hour procedure to attach donor hands and forearms to Zion. Four teams of doctors worked to secure first the bones, then the arteries and veins, muscles, tendons and nerves.

“The collaboration between these institutions was necessary to assemble the team and organize the players to orchestrate such a complex and demanding procedure that had never been performed on a child,” stated Scott H. Kozin, M.D., chief of staff for Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia.

Doctors expect Zion to gain full use of his new hands and achieve his dream to throw a football and climb on monkey bars.

To watch Zion's amazing story, click here.

About Shriners Hospitals for Children
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Our 22 locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Learn more at ShrinersHospitalsforChildren.org.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.