2009-07-23 / Local & State

Double Hand Transplant Patient Wants To Hold Hands

By Dan Nephin ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jeff Kepner, the nation's first double hand transplant patient, says he's looking forward to being able to feel his wife's hand as he holds it.

The 57-year-old Augusta, Ga., man underwent a nine-hour surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in early May and talked about his recovery on Thursday.

So far, he can move his fingers a little bit. He does daily therapy to develop the muscle strength to use his hands.

He doesn't yet have feelings in his fingers; doctors hope that will come as his nerves grow.

Kepner says he hopes to inspire others to consider hand replacement. Kepner lost his hands and feet a decade ago to a bacterial infection.

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