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September 3rd, 2010
03:40 PM ET

Latest hand transplant patient shows progress

The third person in the United States to receive a double hand transplant can already move his fingers.

Last month, in a first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center were able to salvage most of the nerves and tendons in Richard Edwards' hands. They left his original hands intact and connected nerves to restore their function.

Now, Edwards can make a full fist with one hand and a half-fist with the other. His doctors say his progress is a good sign and that Edwards is six months ahead of where they suspected he would be.

Edwards was burned over roughly 30 percent of his body when his truck caught fire in 2006.  He lost the use of both of his hands because of it.

Jeff Kepner was the first patient in the U.S. to receive a double hand transplant. You can watch his progress here.


soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Howie

    that's great news, I hope these types of procedures continue to become more effective

    September 4, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Inga in Texas

      Those injured in war may also benefit. Wonderful story.

      September 4, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse |
  2. Inga in Texas

    What a great story. I wish everyone involved success. I'm sure this will a sign of hope to all who have suffered similar tragedies.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Joel

    Support embryonic stem cell research and procedures like this will become far more common.

    September 4, 2010 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill

      Why does it have to be embryonic stem cell research? Why can't it just be stem cell research?

      September 4, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      SO what exactly did embryonic stem cell research have to do with this story? I smell a shill....

      September 7, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
  4. Adam

    That's amazing – it's great to see where the Medical field has reached to.

    September 4, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. sag coopersmith

    OMG that was so touching in the end with his wife's voice so choked with emotion-and the patient reaching over to her with his hand! Congratulations to this brave man and those wonderful doctors..I hope that he continues to improves and that the other hand transplant recipients will succeed too!

    September 4, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Stem cell research is looking at posibilities of growing your own hand with your own cells, we just have to beat the bible thumpers that oppose such research, their ignorance once again is putting science behind times.
    in the middle ages bible thumpers accused scientist as devil worshippers and burned them, thus putting science 400 years behind schedule, once more they are at it..

    September 4, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tsinonprofit

    Indeed, this is an amazing story where our medical field has reached to. Although the patient has to be on immunosuppressive agent for a long time, it is the most wonderful feeling when the patient is able to move his fingers.

    September 4, 2010 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. touchingsoulsintl

    It is an excellent news that Edwards can make a full fist with one hand and a half-fist with the other after getting his hand transplant. Stem cell research has possibilities of growing a person's own hand with her/his own cells. And supporting stem cell research procedures like this will become far more common.

    September 5, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Greg

    That is amazing. Hopefully the technology will increase even further, soon. Half of the people who regularly comment here definitely need a brain transplant.

    September 6, 2010 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Rob

    Great story, happy for him... But... Will it make him gay if he masturbates with another man's hand?

    September 6, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jujun

      , these ptuecris are gorgeous!! I love what you captured in every shot, you have a gift! We will call you when we come to California, our family would love a shoot with you! I'm so glad you posted all of this work, thanks for sharing!

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.