Eight-Year-Old Boy Undergoes Dual Hand Transplant

September 23, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. make (the) headlines / meɪk ðə ˈhɛdˌlaɪn / (idiom) – to be featured in the news
Example: My brother made the headlines after winning an international competition.

2. disability / ˌdɪs əˈbɪl ɪ ti / (n.) – the state or condition in which a person has limited capabilities
Example: He was born with a disability but he learned to overcome it.

3. confidentiality / ˌkɒn fɪˈdɛn ʃəl ɪ ti / (n.) – the state of keeping something private or secret
Example: Some government agencies work in confidentiality.

4. recover / rɪˈkʌv ər / (v.) – to regain strength or health
Example: The patient needs time to recover after the surgery.

5. conduct / kənˈdʌkt  / (v.) – to do something
Example: The doctor conducted a complete examination of the patient.


Read the text below.
An eight-year-old boy from the United States made headlines after becoming the youngest person in the world to receive a dual hand transplant.

At age two, Zion [ZAHY-uh n] Harvey lost his hands and feet to a severe infection. To help him manage his disability, Zion received prosthetic feet. For a more long-term solution, doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gave him a dual hand transplant.

According to hospital officials, Zion’s transplant took 10 hours. The surgical team that operated on Zion was divided into two groups, with one half in charge of the donated limbs and the other half assigned to Zion’s arms.

The donated hands and forearms were surgically attached to Zion. The first step was to connect the bones using steel plates and screws. To achieve blood flow, blood vessels were attached through microsurgery. Next, each muscle and tendon had to be surgically joined together. Finally, the nerves were reconnected. These nerves will have to grow back from Zion’s existing nerves and into his transplanted hands to regain their ability to feel.

The hospital partnered with The Gift of Life Donor Program to make this donation possible. Due to donor confidentiality, the hospital is not allowed to give details about Zion’s hand donor. However, Zion’s mother, Ray, shared that the donor was a boy who is about the same age as her son.

While Zion still has months to recover, the successful transplant is already record-worthy, as hand transplants had previously only been conducted on adults. Zion’s team of doctors continues to monitor him closely. He continues to attend physical therapy to improve his hands’ functionality.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts about Zion undergoing the hand transplant?
·         Do you think this kind of transplant should be available in more countries? Why?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how do people generally treat persons with disabilities?
·         What types of disabilities do you think should be prioritized for organ transplants? Justify your answer.

September 23, 2015