Nation's Two Hand Transplant Recipients Meet for First Time; Both Patients Progressing Very Well

Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Jewish Hospital

    LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In a long anticipated meeting at
 Jewish Hospital today, Matthew Scott and Jerry Fisher, the first and second
 individuals in the United States to receive a hand transplant, discussed a
 wide range of topics from immunosuppressive therapies to the Philadelphia
 Phillies baseball team to NASCAR racing.  The two men clasped their new left
 hands together in a firm handshake within minutes upon meeting.  Jerry said,
 "We have four people shaking hands together thanks to two wonderful donor
 families."
     Both men expressed sincere appreciation to the other for the mutual
 support that they have offered each other since Jerry received his
 transplanted hand in February 2001.  Matt became the first recipient in
 January 1999.  "No one knows what I am feeling except Jerry," Matt said.  "I
 now have someone else to talk to."  In referring to Matt, Jerry said, "I'm at
 an advantage because he has been where I am.  I use him as an inspiration."
     Lead hand surgeon Warren Breidenbach, M.D., with Kleinert, Kutz and
 Associates Hand Care Center, said that both men are doing very well at this
 point.  "Matt represents the world's longest surviving hand transplant and
 Jerry is also doing extremely well at this point.  Matt is carrying the torch
 for this research project now."  Dr. Breidenbach also said that Matt and Jerry
 have different points of strength in their transplanted hands.  At two months
 post hand transplant, Jerry has extremely good pinch with his thumb, which
 allows for a lot of function in the hand.  Matt had stronger fingers at the
 same two-month point in progress."
     "One of the main differences in the two transplants is the type of
 immunosuppressive drugs that they are taking," said Darla Granger, M.D., lead
 transplant surgeon with the University of Louisville.  "We have gradually
 reduced the amount of medication that Matt has been taking over the past two
 years.  Jerry has been on a somewhat different regimen to prevent the last
 rejection episode.  We will also be reducing the amount of medication for
 Jerry over time."
     Both physicians where quick to remind us that Matt and Jerry are very
 unique individuals with different circumstances surrounding their hand
 transplants.  They are, however, much alike in terms of their motivation and
 dedication in continuing the commitment to the success of their new
 transplanted hands.
     Both Matt and Jerry will also serve as official "Thundernators" at the
 Kentucky Derby Festival "Thunder Over Louisville" event April 21, by pushing
 the yellow "fire" buttons that will trigger the detonation of the largest
 fireworks event in the U.S.  Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival president,
 presented both men with official "Thundernator" jackets and hats and expressed
 appreciation that they will serve in this role.  "Both Matt and Jerry's
 injuries were caused by firework accidents.  We thought it was fitting that
 these two men reinforce the message that fireworks should be left to the
 professionals."
     The hand transplant program was developed by a partnership of physicians
 and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville, and
 Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center.  Matt and Jerry's hand
 transplants are two of the ten hands transplanted around the world.  The
 pioneering procedure is expected to greatly impact the future of
 transplantation and reconstructive surgery.
     Information, photography and streaming video are also available on our web
 site at www.handtransplant.com or www.jewishhospital.org.
 
 

SOURCE Jewish Hospital
    LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In a long anticipated meeting at
 Jewish Hospital today, Matthew Scott and Jerry Fisher, the first and second
 individuals in the United States to receive a hand transplant, discussed a
 wide range of topics from immunosuppressive therapies to the Philadelphia
 Phillies baseball team to NASCAR racing.  The two men clasped their new left
 hands together in a firm handshake within minutes upon meeting.  Jerry said,
 "We have four people shaking hands together thanks to two wonderful donor
 families."
     Both men expressed sincere appreciation to the other for the mutual
 support that they have offered each other since Jerry received his
 transplanted hand in February 2001.  Matt became the first recipient in
 January 1999.  "No one knows what I am feeling except Jerry," Matt said.  "I
 now have someone else to talk to."  In referring to Matt, Jerry said, "I'm at
 an advantage because he has been where I am.  I use him as an inspiration."
     Lead hand surgeon Warren Breidenbach, M.D., with Kleinert, Kutz and
 Associates Hand Care Center, said that both men are doing very well at this
 point.  "Matt represents the world's longest surviving hand transplant and
 Jerry is also doing extremely well at this point.  Matt is carrying the torch
 for this research project now."  Dr. Breidenbach also said that Matt and Jerry
 have different points of strength in their transplanted hands.  At two months
 post hand transplant, Jerry has extremely good pinch with his thumb, which
 allows for a lot of function in the hand.  Matt had stronger fingers at the
 same two-month point in progress."
     "One of the main differences in the two transplants is the type of
 immunosuppressive drugs that they are taking," said Darla Granger, M.D., lead
 transplant surgeon with the University of Louisville.  "We have gradually
 reduced the amount of medication that Matt has been taking over the past two
 years.  Jerry has been on a somewhat different regimen to prevent the last
 rejection episode.  We will also be reducing the amount of medication for
 Jerry over time."
     Both physicians where quick to remind us that Matt and Jerry are very
 unique individuals with different circumstances surrounding their hand
 transplants.  They are, however, much alike in terms of their motivation and
 dedication in continuing the commitment to the success of their new
 transplanted hands.
     Both Matt and Jerry will also serve as official "Thundernators" at the
 Kentucky Derby Festival "Thunder Over Louisville" event April 21, by pushing
 the yellow "fire" buttons that will trigger the detonation of the largest
 fireworks event in the U.S.  Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival president,
 presented both men with official "Thundernator" jackets and hats and expressed
 appreciation that they will serve in this role.  "Both Matt and Jerry's
 injuries were caused by firework accidents.  We thought it was fitting that
 these two men reinforce the message that fireworks should be left to the
 professionals."
     The hand transplant program was developed by a partnership of physicians
 and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville, and
 Kleinert, Kutz and Associates Hand Care Center.  Matt and Jerry's hand
 transplants are two of the ten hands transplanted around the world.  The
 pioneering procedure is expected to greatly impact the future of
 transplantation and reconstructive surgery.
     Information, photography and streaming video are also available on our web
 site at www.handtransplant.com or www.jewishhospital.org.
 
 SOURCE  Jewish Hospital