Another Texan is to have groundbreaking transplant surgery at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Massachussetts.
Katy Hayes, who lost both her arms and legs to the flesh-eating virus after the birth of her third child, is now in Boston awaiting a donor match for what would be the nation’s first double-arm transplant above the elbow.
The video above, produced by Brigham and Women’s, tells Hays’ story.
At a press conference in Boston, the 44-year-old mother of three showed off her wedding ring as a symbolic gesture. Wrote Cindy Horswell of the Houston Chronicle:
“I want my life back,” [Hayes] said during the video teleconference. “I want to be able to hug my husband and my children, eat food and wipe my own butt.”
Her husband, Al, a musician and music teacher, wrote on his blog that he had delayed renewing their wedding vows on their 13th anniversary in July until he could once again put a ring on his wife’s finger.
Hayes is now officially on a donor list waiting for a “match” so that a 40-person medical team, including 12 surgeons, can immediately begin the daylong procedures to attach her new arms.
As Lara Salahi of ABC News noted, that team includes Bohdan Pomahac, the hospital’s director of plastic surgery transplantation, who performed the historic face transplant operation on Fort Worth burn victim Dallas Wiens.
Hayes’ amputations left enough nerve tissue to make the transplant possible, though it’s not known exactly how her arms would function.
“We think she will be able to perform some acts of daily living like brushing her teeth,” Pomahac told the Chronicle.
Of course, as with any transplant, there are immune suppression issues, and Hayes will be looking at least an eighteen-month recovery, including physical therapy.
The Hayes family’s blog was updated by her husband, Al, Wednesday as well.
This is still a trying time, but I am SO happy that Katy is actively a part, and in control of, this process. The doctors at Brigham Women’s Hospital are a wonderfully talented team, and without their research, surgical skills, and dedication, none of this would be possible. Yay, doctors! (Not often you hear ME say that!)
Also, I am so proud of Katy! She has been working out, and truly doing everything she can to prepare her body for the surgeries. She even sat up, with a therapist pushing on her legs, and has scooted up to 170 feet! She has such an amazing spirit, and is still my hero!
Below, another Brigham video that illustrates the surgical technology: