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Texas woman Katy Hayes to receive nation's first double arm transplant

September 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Surgeons at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital now have the green light to perform the nation's first double-arm transplant.

Katy Hayes, 44, a wife and mother of three from Kingwood, Texas, will be getting the new arms.

After delivering her youngest daughter in 2010, the Texas native got a strep infection and fell into a coma. In order to fight the flesh-eating bacterial infection and keep her alive, doctors had to amputate all four limbs.

"Most of the doctors looked at me and said I was going to die," Hayes said. "In the end, they amputated all four limbs. It's been a really hard road, scary and horrible. I can't do anything by myself. I don't see myself differently until I look in the mirror and it's hard."

Brigham and Women's Hospital is working with The New England Organ Bank to find Hayes potential donors. Now living in Boston, she's waiting for the call that could come anytime.

"I will embrace their family and thank them so much for the gift that I can hold my children again," Hayes said.

At least 12 surgeons will be needed for the double-arm transplant. Some of the medical experts that will be involved in the procedure operated nearly a year ago on Richard Mangino, a man who became the first in New England to undergo a successful double hand and forearm transplant. Katy's operation is similar, but will include more of the arms: nearly up to her shoulders.

"We are hopeful Katy will be able to flex her elbows which will allow her to transfer to and from her wheelchair," said Brigham and Women's Hospital's transplant surgeon Dr. Bo Pomahac.

"I'm so excited I can't tell you I think about it all the time. I brought my wedding ring with me here so we're waiting to put the wedding ring on my new hand," said Hayes.


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