News Releases

News Releases

Nation's First Hand Transplant Recipient Gives Special Thanks at Thanksgiving

For Immediate Release: 11/22/1999

(LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY) Matthew Scott, the nation's first hand transplant recipient says, "This Thanksgiving, which is exactly ten months to the day of my surgery, I am most thankful for the courage and generosity of the donor family. It was their compassion that made this unbelievable gift possible." Scott received his new left hand January 24-25 when surgeons from the University of Louisville and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center performed the 15-hour procedure at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Warren Breidenbach, M.D., lead hand surgeon and Jon Jones, M.D., lead transplant surgeon, are pleased with Matt's progress ten months post-transplant. "Matt has made excellent progress with his hand transplant. Both range of motion, grip and sensation have partially returned sufficiently to allow good hand function," said Dr. Breidenbach. Scott can use his new hand to open the door of his car, turn doorknobs, pick up and hold objects and tie his shoes. "Considering that many people felt his hand would reject within weeks, Matt has done well and his prognosis is good." says Breidenbach. Scott continues with his hand therapy in Absecon, New Jersey and is monitored by a mirror team of doctors in the area. Dr. Jones, who monitors Scott's immunosuppressive drug therapy said, "Despite the initial concerns with rejection which were anticipated, episodes have been mild and easy to control." To monitor rejection, the hand transplant team continues to have biopsies performed by mirror team member, Dr. Elliott Ames, in New Jersey. The hand transplant recipient will return to Louisville for re-evaluation around the first of the year. The Evaluation will include a consultation with surgeons and therapists from Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center. A number of tests will be performed which will include biopsies and nerve conduction studies. Scott threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Philadelphia Phillies season opener on April 12 using his new hand, two and a half months following the hand transplant. He returned to Absecon the end of April after a three-month stay in Louisville and returned to work on June 1. The New Jersey native, 38, is a clinical coordinator with Virtua Health in New Jersey and an instructor at Camden County College. Scott and wife, Dawn, have two sons, Ian, 7 and Jeremy, 2. A partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville, and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC developed the pioneering hand transplant program. Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) facilitated the procurement of the hand and other organs. KODA reports that for every individual who donates organs and tissues, seven lives are potentially saved, an additional 25 people can be helped with the tissue donations, and the quality of life is improved for the recipients. Recent photos and video of Scott can be downloaded at ###

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