News Releases

News Releases

Hand Transplant Recipient Ready To Leave Louisville After Three-Month Stay

For Immediate Release: 5/15/2001

LOUISVILLE, KY – Jerry Fisher, the second person in the United States to receive a hand transplant, will return to his hometown, Jackson, Michigan, May 17th following a three-month stay in Louisville near the Jewish Hospital campus. The hand transplant team from Jewish Hospital, Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, and University of Louisville will bid farewell to Fisher at a press conference the same day.

The press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday, May 17th in the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center, Conference Center, 16th floor, 201 Abraham Flexner Way. The conference will be up linked via satellite: Ku-Band SBS 6, Transponder 3, Horizontal Polarity Downlink Frequency 11774 MHZ. The signal will be available at 9:45 a.m. (EDT).

An update on Fisher's progress will be given at the briefing by lead hand surgeon Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, PLLC, lead transplant surgeon Darla K. Granger, M.D., University of Louisville and physical and occupational therapists Laurie Newsome and JoAnn Keller, both with Kleinert, Kutz and Associates. Fisher will also be available to answer questions from the media. B-roll of his recent hand therapy sessions will also be shown and is available upon request.

“A mirror team from Michigan has been selected to monitor Fisher's progress and send results back to the Louisville team after his return home,” says Breidenbach. The mirror team is made up of a primary care physician and a hand surgeon from the Michigan area, along with a therapist from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Fisher will participate in hand therapy two days a week at the University of Michigan Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “He will return to Louisville for possible biopsies and check-ups on a regular basis,” says Granger.

“Fisher continues to gain strength in his new left hand and is able to perform functional tasks faster and with more accuracy,” says Newsome. “He is able to tie and untie his shoes and is also able to lift and carry a 35-pound crate.”

The transplant procedure performed Feb. 16-17 at Jewish Hospital included an 18-member hand transplant surgical team from Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center, and the University of Louisville, as well as, a five-member team from Anesthesiology Associates. Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, an organ procurement organization, coordinated the donation of the hand. The hand transplant program was developed by a partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville, and Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center. Fisher's hand transplant is one of the ten hands on eight people transplanted around the world. The pioneering procedure is expected to greatly impact the future of transplantation and reconstructive surgery.

Information, photography, and streaming video relating to the hand transplant are available on our web site at or

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