| BOSTON, Sept 12
BOSTON, Sept 12 A Texas woman who lost all four
limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria has been approved for a double
arm transplant at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital in what
will be the first such procedure performed in the United States.
Katy Hayes, 44, of Kingwood, Texas, will receive two new
arms above the elbow. The hospital is working with a regional
organ donor bank to find a donor. The surgery has not yet been
"I have the determination to make these arms my own," Hayes
said at a news conference in Boston. "I want my life back. I
want to hold my children. I want to hug my husband."
Hayes contracted a life-threatening Group A Streptococcal
infection after giving birth to her third child in February
2010. She lost her large intestine and her uterus as well as her
The transplant could give Hayes the ability to flex and
extend her elbows and to lift herself out of a wheelchair.
The level of function she will acquire, especially in her
new hands, is uncertain, said Bohdan Pomahac, director of
plastic surgery transplantation at the Brigham.
Hayes and her family moved from Texas in July to prepare for
the surgery. She has been undergoing psychological and physical
screening at the hospital to determine her eligibility for the
grueling surgery and long recovery.
Among other things, the former massage therapist said she is
looking forward to wearing her wedding ring again. "When you
don't have hands, you can't wear rings," she said.
The world's first double above-the-elbow arm transplant was
performed in Germany in 2008 on a farmer who had lost both limbs
in a farming accident.
Brigham and Women's has done two double hand transplants in
the past few years, and a few other U.S. hospitals have
performed the hand surgeries.
Arm transplants are considered less difficult, technically,
than hand transplants, but the recovery is more challenging and
the potential nerve connections more tenuous.
(Reporting By Ros Krasny)