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Woman Shows Off Hand Transplant

Inside The ICU
Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images
A 26-year-old California woman who became the first person in the western United States to receive a hand transplant describes it as “surreal.” Emily Fennell’s surgery and rehabilitation at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been revealed. And UCLA has posted a video featuring the single mother from Yuba City and her unusual medical journey. Emily lost her right hand nearly five years ago in an automobile accident. Fennell says she thought she’d be forced to spend the rest of her life one-handed, but she was wrong. The complex operation required surgeons to attach 23 tendons, two bones, two arteries and at least three nerves, explains Dr. Kodi Azari, the surgical director of UCLA’s hand transplant program. Fennell has been working on her recovery. Eventually, she’d like to be able to put her long brown hair into a ponytail and complete other routine tasks as if they were second nature.

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