Second Hand Transplant Recipient Reaches 15-Year Milestone

Jewish Hospital Hand transplant photo

In order, you have Donnie Rickelman (7th hand transplant recipient), Matthew Scott (1st hand transplant recipient), Jerry Fisher (2nd hand transplant recipient), Christina Kaufman (Executive Director, Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand & Microsurgery), and Dr. Tuna Ozyurekoglu, hand surgeon, Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center).

Jerry Fisher, the second recipient of a hand transplant recipient at Jewish Hospital, celebrated his 15-year milestone of the major surgery on Thursday, April 14, at Jewish Hospital.

The Michigan man underwent the surgery in 2001 after his left hand was blown off by a defective firework, becoming the second patient in the United States to undergo a hand transplant. Fifteen years later, his surgery has impacted the future of both transplantation and reconstructive surgery around the world.

Fisher, doctors and staff, and two other hand transplant recipients, Matthew Scott, the first hand transplant recipient, and Donnie Rickelman, the seventh hand transplant recipient, celebrated at the recent anniversary event at Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center.

The 15th anniversary marks a major milestone for the program in Louisville and other centers across the United States.

Fisher is the second hand transplant patient to reach this anniversary. Tuna Ozyurekoglu, MD, hand surgeon with Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center, and Christopher Jones, MD, transplant surgeon with Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center/University of Louisville, also spoke at the event about the success of transplantation and reconstructive surgery and the impact it has had worldwide.

The Louisville Vascularized Composite Allograft (VCA) program is the oldest hand transplant program in the United States. The VCA is a partnership of physicians, researchers and healthcare providers from Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health; the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery (CMKI); the Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center; and the University of Louisville.

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