News Releases

News Releases

Nation’s Fourth Hand Transplant Recipient Sees Hand for First Time Today

For Immediate Release: 7/17/2008


LOUISVILLE, KY ­(July 17, 2008) The hand transplant surgeon who led a team to  perform the nation's fourth hand transplant during a 14-hour operation over the weekend had the patient's bandages removed today, July 17. The patient, Dave Armstrong, a 32-year-old Upland, California resident, is listed in good condition and is anxious to begin his rehab schedule, according to the medical team. He remains hospitalized at Jewish Hospital.

Armstrong’s bandages were changed for the first time this morning and an orthotist and hand therapist began bracing immediately after. Hand therapy will begin tomorrow.  Lead hand transplant surgeon Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., Kleinert Kutz & Associates and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, reported, "Dave’s new hand looks excellent with no evidence of infection or rejection."

Armstrong was surrounded by surgeons, nurses and his family as the bandages were removed to reveal his new hand.  He was quiet as he viewed his new hand, but his wife, Regina, and mother, Linda, were overwhelmed with joy as they cried and hugged each other.  Five year old son, Christian could only say, “Cool” which got a chuckle from everyone in the room.

As Breidenbach left the room, Christian added, “Thank you for giving my dad another hand.”
The hand recipient is expected to leave Jewish Hospital within the next few days and will remain in the Louisville area for three months.  

To date, there have been a total of 39 hands transplanted on 31 patients around the world. The team of Kleinert Kutz & Associates and University of Louisville surgeons are the only group performing hand transplants in the U.S. They have performed a total of  four procedures at Jewish Hospital including Armstrong, Matthew Scott in 1999, Jerry Fisher in 2001 and David Savage in 2006.

A partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, Kleinert Kutz and the University of Louisville developed the pioneering procedure.  The 18-member transplant team led by Breidenbach, performed the surgery on July 12 and included surgeons from Kleinert Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, the University of Louisville, as well as a two-member team from Anesthesiology Associates and Medical Center Anesthetists. Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, an organ procurement organization, coordinated the donation of the hand for Armstrong. 

Kadiyala Ravindra, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at University of Louisville and Joseph Buell, M.D., director, Jewish Hospital Transplant Center, manage the immunosuppressive therapy for all the hand transplant patients. 

Information, high resolution photography and streaming video are also available on our web site at or The photos and B-roll give the first glimpse of the patient's new hand. B-roll is available upon request. Note - Streaming video on the web is not broadcast quality.

All of the photos contained on this site are the copyrighted property of Jewish Hospital; Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center; and University of Louisville. News media organizations may use the images for publication if accompanied by the following statement: Photos courtesy of Jewish Hospital; Kleinert Kutz; and University of Louisville.  


Dave Armstrong, surrounded by his mother, Linda and son, Christian, sees his new hand for the first Warren Breidenbach, M.D., lead hand transplant surgeon and Ruben Gonzalez, M.D., both with Kleinert Warren Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert Kutz & Associates, closely examines Dave Armstrong's newly transp


Go Back To The List of All News Stories

For More Information...
Barbara Mackovic
Senior Manager

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Kleinert Institute Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center University of Louisville School of Medicine